Physiological demands of elite soccer refereeing: needs analysis and applications to training and monitoring

  • Matthew Weston

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The following thesis investigates contemporary issues within the applied physiology of soccer refereeing. 1) Training performance. The impact of a high intensity training regime was examined in a group of elite-level soccer referees. Following a 16-month training period the referees’ performance on the YoYo Intermittent Recovery Test (level 1) improved by 46.5%. 2) Match Demands. The effect of match standard and referee experience upon the objective and subjective match loads of referees was investigated. Match heart rates (HR) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were both related to standard of competition, with the match loads being higher on the higher standard of competition. Referee experience had no effect upon the referees’ match responses. Using a semi-automatic, video match analysis system the referees’ match activities and factors affecting these activities were also examined. Physical performances were related in part to the physical performances of the players; whilst the distances covered during the first half were related to second half coverage. 3) Ageing and performance. The effect of ageing upon referees’ fitness levels and physical match performances was addressed. Regression analysis revealed a trend towards an agerelated reduction in physical fitness, as determined by the referees’ fitness tests. Match activity analysis demonstrated a clear age-related decline in physical match performance, although this decline did not impair the referees’ ability to keep up with play. 4) Fitness and match performance. The validity of the FIFA referees’ fitness tests was examined. Interval test HR load was significantly correlated to the referees’ match coverage, both total distance and high intensity running. Sprint test scores also demonstrated a significant relationship with the referees’ match sprinting distances. However, given the strength of the relationships only the sprint test showed appropriate construct validity for the physical assessment of soccer referees.
    Date of Award1 Sept 2009
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Teesside University
    SupervisorAlan Batterham (Supervisor)

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