Landmark decision in the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) rules that ‘National Group’ referees are self-employed

In a landmark decision for umpires across all sporting codes, the specialist First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) has decided that ‘National Group’ referees in the Premier League, FA Cup and Football League are self-employed.

The principle basis for the Tax Chamber’s ruling is that the on-field decisions of referees are final. They cannot be controlled – and so are not employees.  

The underlying dispute concerned whether Professional Game Match Officials Limited – the body which manages the supply and quality of referees for the football competitions – had obligations to operate the employment tax code. However, the principal extends beyond tax to employment rights generally, and beyond football to other sporting codes.

Jolyon Maugham QC, leading Georgia Hicks, acted for PGMOL. 

The decision can be accessed here.

This case has been covered in the national press, including The Times

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