Referees wishing to operate in D1A and D1B games next season will have to watch their weight, according to an email circulated to referees.
Between now and October 17, the body fat percentage of the referees will have to be reduced so as not to exceed 12%, according to articles published on Wednesday in Mediahuis group papers.
The Referee Department sent an e-mail on Tuesday to referees in which they are asked to reduce their body fat percentage to below 15% by July 15 and 12% by October 17. Support staff will have to fall below 18% between now and July 15 and below 15% by October 17.
Those disregarding these limitations would no longer be recognised as a referee, official or member of the support staff. Designations such as video referee or video referee's assistant would still be possible. "It's the next stage in professionalisation," the Referee Department's Frank De Bleeckere declared. "We want to bring our referees up to an international level. This kind of intervention is necessary to do that. This is part of the catching-up process."
To put this in perspective, five-times Golden Ball winner Cristiano Ronaldo has a body fat percentage of 7% . Four-times winner of the Tour de France Chris Froome's is 9.8%. The normal value for an "ordinary" man varies between 15% (17-29 years) and 20% (40 years and over).
The Brussels Times