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3000 striking referees: no amateur football in Denmark

Wanted in Denmark: 3000 football referees. Immediately. The referees in the lower/amateur leagues in Denmark are striking since the 11th of March because they want more appreciation from the Danish FA and they want a an increase of the match fees with 18 Kronen (2,41 euro’s, 2,014 pound) from 200 to 218. The FA offered a rise of 7 Kronen, but only after the rejection of DFU that 200 kronen would not be fine.

The conflict has increased ant it’s not only about the money anymore. The Danish Football Association (DBU) want to get rid of the referee association (DFU) and is looking for it’s own referees who need to officiate the 100.000 matches this year in all Danish competitions.

Banner from the Danish Referee Association: "Keep our DFU. A world without us will be a world without football. Press like if you support our cause."
Banner from the Danish Referee Association: “Keep our DFU. A world without us will be a world without football. Press like if you support our cause.”

Negotiations between the DBU and the referee assocation DFU started in October 2012. So far without result. “DBU was not prepared for an increase of nine percent this year”, they say in a statement about the referee conflict on their website. The FA wanted to pay the same fee as last year: 200 kronen.

Referees are getting e-mailed by both the football association and the referee association to pick their side. Striking referees could start immediately refereeing while choosing for a fee of 207 kronen and registering at the local football association. But the protests are strong. According to the DFU (referee association) 97 percent of the refs are not active. Only the professionals are working their games, because they have a different agreement with the national FA.

The support from the referees for their DFU is strong. It’s not likely that all 3000 referees will choose the DBU’s side just to be able to officiate again. On DFU’s Facebook page many referees say they’d rather stop officiating than officiate for the DBU. One of them says: “I’d rather blow a whistle full of sh*t, than I’ll be whistling as referee of the football association.”

The DFU is lobbying at football clubs to get support for their case. DFU President Per Buttenschøn is very happy with the support so far. “Several clubs have already expressed their unconditional support to the Danish referees in conflict with DBU”, he wrote in a letter. The most important points from his letter to convince the clubs to support DFU:

  • Match fees have not been changed since 2009 and referees have to pay more taxes.
  • A good refereeing structure with years of experience falls apart.
  • The recruitment of young potential top referees is effective with DFU.
  • “Players can live with the fact that there will be a few matches without official referee, someone who doesn’t know the rules that well, but not for a whole season. If the football association will not come back to the negotiating table, that scenario is realistic for Danish football players.”

There’s no sign that both parties are coming back to the negotiation table yet.

Want to support the Danish striking referees? Check out and like their Facebook page DFU – Dankse Fotbolddommeren.


  • ASkeete_Referee

    This is an unfortunate situation, but it is one that too has take affect in my association, and many others in the Caribbean. Our association has pretty much dissolved and all referees have had to sign up with the football association. Increases in fees have been non-existent as they are rebuilding, so we hope in time this will come. As for the Danish referees, I really hope you can amicably sit down and negotiate an agreement with your association, there is nothing like having a well trainee managing a sporting event (we all saw how the NFL was terribly affected by using referees from the Lingerie football). Good luck colleagues do what is best for you, For the Game, and For the World, for football.

  • Emil Vasilev

    Hey, can somebody tell me how could I become a football referee. I have certificates that I have been referee for 5 years.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Hi Emil, that’s really depending of the country. If you looking for something in Denmark, you’ll be able to find more on the website of the referee association:

      I don’t speak Danish myself, so can’t give you an precise link where you can find contact details.

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