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    A systematic review of the physical, physiological, nutritional and anthropometric profiles of soccer referees

    Martinho, Diogo V, Field, Adam ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2600-6182, Rebelo, André, Gouveia, Élvio and Sarmento, Hugo (2023) A systematic review of the physical, physiological, nutritional and anthropometric profiles of soccer referees. Sports Medicine - Open, 9 (1). p. 72. ISSN 2199-1170

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    Abstract

    Background: The development of soccer referees has received consideration by international and national refereeing governing bodies. Age and performance are two of the criteria used to nominate international referees. In addition, nutrition, body composition and physiological outputs have received little attention. The aim of this study was to review the information related to match indicators, testing, nutrition, and physiological profiling of soccer referees. Methods: The inclusion criteria of the manuscripts in the present review that the articles included male and/or female soccer referees, relevant data about performance, testing, nutrition, body composition, body size and physiology. Three databases were consulted: Web of Sciences all databases, PubMed and Scopus. The tools developed by the National Institute of Health were used to assess risk-of-bias according to studies design. Results: In total, 110 manuscripts were included in the present review. Match activities of soccer referees and assistant referees are not comparable and are influenced by several factors. Additionally, match performance is often used to validate field protocols. The associations between match indicators and field protocols were not constant across the studies consulted, particularly in short-maximal tests. An age decline in physical performance was not conclusive. Body size did not discriminate referees and assistant referees, as well as referees of different competitive levels. Few studies focused on nutritional guidelines among referees. Conclusions: The current review did not consider studies about decision making, psychological aspects or visual parameters. Age is not a useful criterion to define international level thereby, age specific criteria of fitness assessment, laboratory outputs, mainly aerobic fitness, and body composition should be created for referees and assistant referees. Trial registration: The protocol was published in INPLASY (International Platform of Registered Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols) with the registration number 202280052 and doi 10.37766/inplasy2022.8.005

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