League Referees hit new Fitness Heights

Published on 14 March, 2013 
By: Mark Williams


On Thursday evening the Welsh Premier Referees gathered in Newtown for a meeting to analyse match day incidents from both the Corbett’s Sports Welsh Premier League together with some interesting clips from other National Leagues.

The different situations were discussed in detail and a very productive session ensued. This was followed by their 3rd compulsory fitness test of the season where they undertook the “YoYo” test which are a serious of 20m shuttle sprints against the clock where at each level the physical demand increases but the time per shuttle reduces.

This test has been devised by UEFA’s Head of Sports Science and was used by the Referees at the Euro 2012 tournament to gauge the fitness levels of Europe’s Elite referees.

The standard that UEFA’s Elite referees are expected to hit is a minimum of level 18.2 so when all reached that level and several went on to reach level 19.8, it shows the positive work being put in by the WPL referees in response to the individual training programmes is paying dividends. The test was supervised by FAW Referees’ Committee Vice Chairman Cliff Evans and Referees’ Manager Rodger Gifford.

Gifford explained that thanks to the monies received from the UEFA Convention on Refereeing we are able to invest more in the physical training of referees who are all given individual schedules by our consultant Sports Scientist, who in conjunction with Gifford and National Fitness Coach Ray Ellingham, monitor not only their monthly training routines but also their input at each game as the Referees have all been provided with Polar Heart Monitor watches and have to regularly download their information on a regular basis for analysis and further advice.

There has been a clearly defined improvement of fitness levels over the last two years which is supported by the data provided as referees and the management team continue to strive to improve standards throughout the system.

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