Referee Profile: Meet Bjorn Kuipers the richest official in the game

By Vincent Ashitey
Referee Profile: Meet Bjorn Kuipers the richest official in the game
Referee Profile: Meet Bjorn Kuipers the richest official in the game

Like most football referees, Bjorn Kuipers a Dutch international is employed on a full-time basis. But unlike his colleagues, he has the luxury that he could do it all for nothing because he's a multi-millionaire.

45-year-old Kuipers was the man in charge of Juventus 3-2 aggregate win over Atletico Madrid in yesterday's UEFA Champions League and during the 2014 FIFA World Cup he made around $19500 for a month's work.

But luckily for Kuipers, he referees completely for the fun of it.

The Oldenzaal-born whistleblower is not overawed by the mega-rich superstars of the modern game - because he earns millions every year himself from the supermarket chain he owns in the Netherlands with over 500 offices spread across the country and he rakes in between £2-4million every year in profit alone.

With his assets estimated at around 12.4 million euros, is considered the richest arbiter.

Kuipers was appointed to his first international major tournament in 2009 and is respected for the way he officiates games. He has risen through the ranks and has officiated in major tournaments which include UEFA Euro 201, 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, UEFA Euro 2016, 2017, FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

For referees, their progression to the highest echelon of the game is to officiate at the biggest stage and Kuipers is one of the few referee to be the centre man major tournaments. The Dutch native has officiated in several prestigious international finals like the 2006 UEFA European Under-17 Championship Final, 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Final, 2011 UEFA Super Cup, 2013 UEFA Europa League Final, 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Final, 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup Final  and 2018 UEFA Europa League Final.

However, Kuipers refereeing career hasn't been spared of controversy, he is best known for being the referee that "graced" the first bite of Luis Suarez, at Ajax in 2010, when Suarez bit for the first time an opponent, Otman Bakkal, on the right shoulder.

One can't help but think that Kuipers financial security combined with an indubitable passion for the game will pave the way for long-term success on the world's biggest stage.

Read also: HIGHLIGHTS: Ronaldo returns to haunt Atletico as Juventus book quarters slot

Latest sports news in Ghana