This study examined the relation between field-test results and match performance in elite Italian soccer referees. Subjects (n = 22) were all experienced elite-level referees enrolled in the Commissione Arbitri Nazionali (CAN) and thus officiating in the Serie A and B Italian championships. Referees were, on separate occasions, tested for fitness (50-m, 200-m, and 12-minute run tests) and observed a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 3 times (n = 39) during Serie A matches. Match analyses were performed considering 11 match activity categories. Analyses of correlations were performed considering 50-m, 200-m, and 12-minute run test performances as independent variables and total distance, maximal speed distance (runs performed at speeds faster than 24 km[middle dot]h-1), and high-intensity activity distance (runs performed at speeds faster than 18 km[middle dot]h-1, high intensity activity [HIA]) as dependent variables. Statistical significance was set at p <= 0.05. In the 50-m, 200-m, and 12-minute run tests the referees scored, 7.07 +/- 0.26 seconds, 29.57 +/- 1.44 seconds, and 2866 +/- 164 m, respectively. The 12-minute run test showed a moderate correlation with total match distance (r = 0.71, p < 0.05), and a low correlation with HIA and maximal speed distance (r = 0.51, p < 0.05 and r = 0.32, p < 0.05, respectively). The 200-m and 50-m sprint times were not correlated with the distance covered at maximal speed or HIA, but correlated negatively with match distance (r = -0.48, p < 0.05 and r = -0.38, p < 0.05, respectively). The results of the present study demonstrate that the 12-minute run test is a moderate predictor of match performance in elite referees and that aerobic fitness should have priority in the physical conditioning programs of the elite soccer referee.
(C) 2002 National Strength and Conditioning Association