Int J Sports Med 2009; 30(5): 331-336
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1202339
Training & Testing

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Physical Demands of Top-class Soccer Assistant Refereeing during High-standard Matches

J. Mallo 1 , E. Navarro 1 , J. M. Garcia Aranda 2 , W. Helsen 3
  • 1Facultad Ciencias Actividad Física y el Deporte, Laboratorio de Biomecánica, Madrid, Spain
  • 2Referees Department, Federation International de Football Association, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3Biomedical Kinesiology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Heverlee, Belgium
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision August 14, 2008

Publication Date:
19 March 2009 (online)


This study examined the physical demands experienced by top-class assistant referees during high-standard football matches. Computerized match analyses and heart rate recordings were performed on 18 international assistant referees during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2005. Total distance covered averaged 5752±554 m, of which 34% was covered at a high-intensity (>13 km·h−1). Sidewards movements represented 30% of total match distance. Both total distance (r=0.67; P<0.01) and high-intensity activities (r=0.52; P<0.05) were related to the displacements of the ball in the same match. The distance covered by high-speed running in this tournament was 255% greater (P<0.001) than that covered during the under-17 World Championship 2003. Mean heart rate during the game was 140±11 b·min−1 (78±4% HRmax). Mean heart rate during a 5-min interval of the match was related in part (r=0.31; P<0.001) to the amount of high-intensity activities performed within the same match-period. The results of this study show that the physical demands imposed on assistant referees are influenced by the movements of the ball and the standard of the competition.



Dr. J. Mallo

Facultad Ciencias Actividad Física y el Deporte

Laboratorio de Biomecánica

c/Martín Fierro s/n

28040 Madrid


Phone: +60/550/95 89

Fax: +91/848/91 43