Activity profile of top-class association football referees in relation to fitness-test performance and match standard
Mallo, Javier × Navarro, Enrique Aranda, Jose María Garcia Helsen, Werner #
Taylor Francis Health Sciences
Journal of Sports Sciences vol:27 issue:1 pages:9-17
The aim of this study was to examine the kinematic activity profiles, cardiovascular responses and physical fitness of top-class football referees (n=11) during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2005. Computerised match-analyses (n=9) were performed with a two-dimensional photogrammetric video system, and the cardiovascular demand imposed on the referees (n=12) was measured using heart rate recordings. Total distance covered was 10,218, s=643 m of which 3531, s=510 m was covered at high intensities (>3.6 m.s(-1)). Both total distance covered (r2=0.59; P=0.02) and high-intensity activities (r2=0.44; P=0.05) were related to the distance covered by the ball in the same match. The referees ran at high speed 37% further (P=0.01) in the actual tournament than during under-17 top-level officiating. After the 5-min interval during which high-speed running peaked, in the following 5 min the performance was reduced by 19% (P=0.01) in relation to the mean of the game. Mean heart rate was 161, s=9 b.min(-1) (86, s=3% of maximal heart rate (HRmax)). Mean heart rate (expressed as percentage of HRmax) was related in part (r2=0.36; P<0.01) to the number of high-intensity activities performed in the same 5-min interval. The results of this study show that: (1) kinematic activity profiles of top-class referees can be influenced by the distance covered by the ball; (2) the amount of high-speed running (>5 m.s(-1)) best describes the physical performance of referees; (3) heart rate recording can be a useful tool to determine the most intense periods of a match and (4) the new fitness tests adopted by FIFA were poor predictors of match activities.