Karolin Kaivoja at the UEFA Referees Access Day with Gatorade ahead of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022
Gatorade, the world’s number one sports drink*, has collaborated with UEFA on a first-of-its-kind initiative to optimise female match officials’ health and performance ahead of, and during, the UEFA Women’s EURO.
The program seeks to assist elite female match officials with a range of personalised consultations on hydration, sports nutrition, and menstruation, in addition to the use of the innovative Gx Sweat Patches during the games for continued assessment and data.
Female match official testing a Gatorade Gx Sweat Patch at the UEFA Referees Access Day ahead of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022
Match officials represent a unique group of athletes that have historically not had the same level of support as professional players, yet are expected to achieve the same levels of performance on the pitch. To tackle this, and champion elite female match officials, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) is providing them with access to a range of educational tools in sports nutrition - the same level of training received by professional athletes.
Gatorade’s collaboration with the UEFA Women’s EURO began in January with a winter training camp. Match officials including Stéphanie Frappart, Rebecca Welch, Cheryl Foster, Kateryna Monzul, Esther Staubli, Jana Adámková, Riem Hussein and Lina Lehtovaara were provided with practical sports nutrition advice through bespoke 1:1 sessions hosted by GSSI scientists and focused on diet, hydration, preparation, and recovery at all stages of training.
Each official took part in sweat testing, using Gatorade’s first-to-market Gx Sweat Patches - a technology developed by GSSI to track individuals’ fluid loss, sweat rate, and sodium loss during exercise to monitor hydration and help advance performance. All participants received a personal sweat profile and were taught how to decipher the results to better understand their nutritional needs while training.
Mark Kirkham, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer at PepsiCo, commented: “We support everyone who wants to play and this goes beyond just players on the pitch, but everyone in the sport, including the elite match officials who put themselves through the same rigorous training. Utilising our heritage and the expertise of GSSI we can help nurture and enhance performance to help take the game to new heights. Through working with the UEFA Women’s EURO, we have an amazing opportunity to make a meaningful difference in women’s football.”
The officials were also provided with education around menstrual cycles in relation to health and physical performance, with the ambition to break down barriers and normalise conversations about the impact of menstruation on sport. Each match official had access to individual nutrition counselling and personalised advice from GSSI scientists on how nutrition can be used to their advantage during physical training.
UEFA Sports Scientist & Training Expert, Prof. Werner Helsen, said: “The female match officials are the unsung heroes of elite football and we are grateful that through our ongoing partnership with Gatorade, they are getting access to expert knowledge and advice to help advance their skills and performance on the field. Looking to the future, our ambition is to further build on the success of this program, which we have delivered with the help of Gatorade Sports Science Institute over the last 8 months to continue to provide the dedicated support the match officials need.”
PepsiCo has been a proud partner of the UEFA Women’s EURO since announcing its multi-year partnership with UEFA Women’s football in 2020, connecting people from all over the world through their shared passion for football. The five-year Women’s partnership will see PepsiCo support women’s football at all levels through to summer 2025, with PepsiCo as a main partner of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the UEFA Women’s EURO, the UEFA Women’s Under-19 and Under-17 Championships, and the UEFA Women’s Futsal EURO, as well as UEFA’s Together #WePlayStrong program, which is aimed at encouraging more girls and women to play football.
The multi-year premier partnership further strengths the brand’s presence across the elite football landscape, sitting alongside its current multi-year sponsorship of the men’s UEFA Champions League.
* Source Euromonitor International Limited; Soft Drinks 2022 edition: % brand share, off-trade volume & value rsp terms, 2021 data.