How Wiley and fellow men in black prove they're fit and proper

Alan Wiley might look as if he carries a few pounds more than other officials but the pre-season fitness tests he is subjected to are the same as any referee.

The tests establish speed and stamina. Wiley would have had to complete six 40m sprints in 6.2 seconds each, with 90 seconds recovery time in between. But the "interval run" as it is known, is the pre-season challenge which many referees find the toughest. Wiley and the 18 other referees managed by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) each have had to run 150m of a running track in 30 seconds 20 times, with a 50m walk between each of the start points to provide some recovery time. There is no slouching between start points. If a referee fails to arrive at the next interval run start point inside 30 seconds he gets an official warning. If he fails to do so again, he has failed the test. Any referees who fail the fitness tests face demotion from the elite group of Premier League officials.

Wiley attends a two-day training camp at Warwick University every other week. "I still do my other job on a Monday and then when I get home do some weight training because it is part of the programme set for us," he told the PGMOL website recently. "On Tuesday morning I drive to Warwick University, where we do fitness work in the morning, then video work in the afternoon. On Thursday I go back to work and on a Thursday night I would probably recover. Friday is a day off from my other job so I would do some speed work on a Friday morning and then in the afternoon I start getting all my kit together ready for my weekend game."

Wiley is not Ferguson's favourite official, having awarded the penalty for Michael Carrick's handball which saw United lose 2-1 at Stamford Bridge two seasons ago and dismissed Nemanja Vidic in the 4-1 home defeat to Liverpool last season. But the scientists have one over on Ferguson if he, of all people, attempts to suggest that age is slowing Wiley. Scientist Matt Weston's paper Ageing and physical match performance in English Premier League soccer referees – which drew on four years of Prozone research – compared the total distance run between younger referees (aged 31-43) and older officials (aged 43-48).

It concluded: "The reduced physical match performances associated with increasing referee age did not appear to impact upon the older referees' ability to keep up with play."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power