By Keith Hackett

28th Sep, 2021 | 8:24am

Ex-Premier League ref shares '£22m' reveal as history made in Watford-Newcastle clash

The Premier League has an annual officiating budget of £22million and so the likes of Watford and Newcastle deserve the world’s top referees.

So says ex-PGMOL boss Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Jarred Gillett made history at Vicarage Road on 25 September.

The 34-year-old Australian became the Premier League’s first referee from outside the British Isles as he oversaw Watford and Newcastle’s 1-1 draw.

Gillett handed out seven yellow cards and disallowed a late Watford winner after a VAR review in what was a fiery fixture.

Hackett shared some background on Gillett’s path to the Premier League and applauded the decision to make him the division’s first foreign referee.

“I’m in favour of this,” he told Football Insider‘s Connor Whitely.

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“Around 2007-8, we agreed to pay travel and accommodation costs to bring overseas referees to spend a week with the PGMOL.

“Jarred came across and refereed a Birmingham City versus Derby County academy game. He showed great potential.

“Then he went back to Australia enthused and became the country’s top referee. He later came back to England and refereed in the Championship.

“He earned his promotion. It’s good because there is still succession plan problems with the PGMOL. It’s an ageing population.

“We have four or five referees who are over 50. Bringing foreign referees goes some way to addressing this.

“I was always open to bringing top-class officials in from abroad. You ould have an exchange programme, for starters.

“With a £22m budget every year, the Premier League has every right to have the best quality officiating.”

In other news, Liverpool tipped to launch new raid for Watford star in January after what Phillips has seen.