Premier League clubs have recently received a comprehensive list of dietary demands from the referees’ governing body, Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). In a bid to optimize the performance and well-being of matchday officials, PGMOL has enlisted the expertise of former Manchester United doctor, Steve McNally, to oversee the nutritional needs of referees accordind to report from Daily Sport. This groundbreaking initiative aims to ensure that referees are fueled with the right foods to maintain their peak physical condition throughout the game.
Gone are the days when referees could indulge in the humble sandwich during match days. The new guidelines emphasize the exclusion of “fatty foods” and sandwiches from referees’ pre-match meals. Instead, PGMOL recommends alternatives such as rice cakes, nut butter, fishcakes, and hot breaded chicken salad wraps. These options provide referees with the necessary nutrients and energy to endure the physical demands of officiating a high-intensity Premier League match.
The dietary requirements have been meticulously divided into pre-match and post-match meals. Referees are advised to consume protein-rich dishes like chicken, beef, or fish, accompanied by vegetables and salad after the game. Additionally, fishcakes, sweet potato wedges, stir-frys, curries, and pasta dishes are also listed as suitable post-match options. The inclusion of these nutritious meals aims to aid referees in their recovery process and replenish their energy levels after exerting themselves on the pitch.
Furthermore, PGMOL has taken into consideration the timing of meals and the digestive process. Foods high in fiber or nuts, which take longer to digest, are discouraged before games to prevent any discomfort or distraction during the match. Similarly, the provision of breakfast bars, specifically those made by the brands ‘Nakd’ and ‘Go Ahead yoghurt breaks,’ ensures that referees have a convenient and nutritious option to kick-start their day before officiating a game.
The comprehensive list of dietary demands also includes a variety of cold snack options. Sushi bites and ‘KIND’ bars are recommended, offering referees a quick and healthy source of sustenance during breaks. Flavored or plain cakes, accompanied by nut butter spreads, are also encouraged as a delicious treat that provides a boost of energy.
This innovative approach to referee nutrition is credited to the expertise of Steve McNally, who joined PGMOL as the performance support director after a successful 16-year tenure at Manchester United. McNally, along with his team of sports scientists, ensures that referees, who often cover a staggering 12 kilometers per game, receive the optimal nutritional support required for their demanding role.
The increased focus on referee well-being and performance is a testament to the evolving nature of football. PGMOL’s commitment to treating referees as athletes, akin to the players, highlights the importance of catering to their specific nutritional needs. By providing healthy and tailored meals, PGMOL aims to ensure that referees remain in peak physical condition, enabling them to stay closely involved in the game for the entire duration, including added time.
The implementation of these dietary demands represents a significant step forward in the world of football officiating. Premier League clubs have embraced this nutritional revolution, recognizing the vital role that optimal nutrition plays in enhancing referee performance. As the game becomes increasingly demanding, it is crucial to prioritize the well-being of all those involved, including the match officials. By providing referees with the right fuel, PGMOL is revolutionizing the way we perceive and support referees in the modern game.