Professional refereeing is being introduced in Portugal with a first group of nine FIFA referees: Pedro Proenca (photo), Olegario Benquerenca, Jorge Sousa, Artur Soares, Carlos Xistra, Duarte Gomes, Joao Capela, Hugo Miguel and Marco Ferreira. This new program will start in November 2013, with training sessions to be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, whenever possible, depending on their international match appointments.
"This is a historic day. The introduction of professional referees in Portugal will not eradicate the refereeing errors, but will definitely decrease them", said Melo Pereira, the chairman of the FPF Referees Committee. The referees will be paid 2,500 euro per month in addition to the game fees. The professional model will be adjusted next season, with the number expected to increase to 12/14 referees, with a fixed salary staggered into three groups, more game fees and performance bonus determined by technical criteria. In 2014-2015, the 10 FIFA assistant referees will be added to the list. In 2015-2016, the Portuguese Referees Committee estimates that the number of professionals will increase to 18/20 referees plus 10 assistant referees.