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Title: A Systematic Review of the Physical, Physiological, Nutritional and Anthropometric Profiles of Soccer Referees
Authors: Martinho, Diogo V. 
Field, Adam
Rebelo, André
Gouveia, Élvio R.
Sarmento, Hugo 
Keywords: Match performance; Physical tests; Nutrition; Body composition; Referees
Issue Date: 10-Aug-2023
Publisher: Springer Nature
Serial title, monograph or event: Sports Medicine - Open
Volume: 9
Issue: 1
Abstract: Background The importance of soccer referees is widely accepted by international soccer organizations and governing bodies, although there is little research summarizing and appraising the literature on soccer referees. The aim of this study was to systematically review the information related to physical demands, nutrition and physiological profiling of soccer referees. Methods Conforming with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, searches of three electronic databases (Web of Sciences, PubMed and Scopus) were conducted on 24 April 2022. The following search terms were used: (Soccer OR football AND refer*) AND (physical OR physiolo* OR load* OR “body composition” OR “fat mass” OR “fat free mass” OR “body size” OR “nutrition*” OR “nutritional assessment” OR “nutritional intake” OR “macronutrient*” OR “micronutrient*”). The inclusion criteria of the manuscripts written in English were that articles with male and/or female soccer referees and included relevant data concerning performance, physical testing, nutrition, body composition, body size and/or physiology of soccer referees. The tools developed by the National Institute of Health were used to assess risk of bias according to the study design. Results In total, 110 manuscripts were included in the present review. Match activities of soccer referees and assistant referees are not comparable. Variation in performance is influenced by competitive level and competitive schedules. Additionally, match performance is often used to validate field protocols. The associations between match indicators and field protocols were not constant across the included studies, particularly in short-maximal tests. An age decline in physical performance was not conclusive. Body size did not discriminate between referees and assistant referees, as well as referees of different competitive levels. Few studies focused on nutritional guidelines among referees, particularly exercise energy expenditure. Energy intake was comparable across studies, but referees did not follow the daily dietary recommendations. Aerobic output was frequently assessed, and it was not comparable to the values for soccer players. Conclusions Although there are decreases in the running profiles of older referees, they maintain the same distances from the ball, and thus, age per se should not be used to define participation at the international level. The assessment of physical fitness warrants future consideration given the levels of fatigue that are apparent at the end of matches. In order to attain ideal levels of body composition, future studies need to provide guidelines for daily energy expenditure and nutritional intake.
ISSN: 2199-1170
DOI: 10.1186/s40798-023-00610-7
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CIDAF - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais
FCDEF - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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