25 | APR 2019
15 MAR | 2014
Swedish Football Association SvFF, Solna, Sweden
Jonas Eriksson and the unlikely parable of the millionaire referee
Some people take refereeing as a suffering, but this Swedish magnate proves that he truly loves his profession... no matter how rich he's become.

riksson is a common surname in Sweden. What is not so common is his profession and his bank account. Jonas Eriksson is a referee. But he is also a magnate. The world of business and refereeing are absolutely distant from one another, but Eriksson, who was born in Lulea in 1973, managed to put them together. In 2011, this businessman that has a two-decade experience as a referee, decided to sell his 15-percent stake of IEC in Sports, a Swedish television company that slowly became a global player, currently having offices in Stockholm, Lausanne, Sydney, Hong-Kong and Dubai. The stocks he [...]

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[...] he stocks he sold turned him into a millionaire, but that didn't mean he'd quit refereeing, he concluded. "All the money hasn't changed a thing. The best thing I do in my life is to be a referee", reckons Eriksson. He might be right: since he decided to give away his stocks, his career in football became more illustrious. He has already been part of Euro 2012, performed in the European Supercup 2013 and is already confirmed as one of the European referees that will be present in Brazil 2014.

Eriksson had acquired the 15% of IEC stocks in 1998, thanks to a friend, Peter Jihde, who offered him to be part of a start up alongside some other acquaintances. Back then, IEC in Sports were 4 people; today there are more than 40 employees and the company holds most of the sporting events rights in Sweden. This situation attracted the situation of the French giants Lagardère. From one day to another, Eriksson found more than 12 million euros in his bank account.

In a football that is ruled by millionaire footballers, the irruption of a referee that has as much money as they do, shouldn't be surprising. What's still needs to be discussed is if referees have to become full-time professionals. So more referees can become millonaires for performing well on the pitch, and not for selling the stocks they'd bought from a friend 15 years ago. [Ø]