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Romanian Soccer Refs Get Raise

January 23, 2001

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Romanian soccer referees will have their salaries doubled in an effort to curb corruption in the sport.

``From now on, referees will have only one master: the rule book,″ said Ion Craciunescu, who heads the commission for refereeing.

Accusations of game-fixing and corrupt refereeing have plagued Romanian soccer for years, with such stars as Gheorghe Hagi urging a cleanup.

Under the new rules, which take effect immediately, a referee will earn $500 a game. Linesmen will get $250 and the reserve referee $150.

The first-division clubs also will allocate money to cover any taxes on these wages.

``I know it sounds like a lot of money for Romania, but the referees should be paid according to soccer wages, not national wages,″ Craciunescu said.

In Romania the average wage is just $100 a month, but soccer players and coaches can make as much as $100,000 a year.

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