Capital football refs box clever to get in shape

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LOCAL football referees have enlisted the help of a former Scottish super- middleweight boxing champion as they seek to improve their fitness, writes SCOTT THOMSON.

Former boxer Sean Heron has been putting 25 top refs through their paces at The Edinburgh Boxing Academy (TEBA) gym in Granton. The whistlers hope rigorous upper-body training sessions will help boost their sprinting technique and Martin Clark, manager of SFA Referees Edinburgh and District, revealed: “Our prime goal is to get the referees as fit as possible. The fitter the referee is, the fitter their mind is and therefore they are more alert on the pitch.”

The training programme currently set by the referees association involves training every Tuesday at Peffermill and a session at TEBA every second Wednesday and Clark hopes the training can become part of local referees’ personal fitness training.

He said: “The plan is for our refs to attend Sean’s classes for 4-6 weeks and, if they feel they are benefiting from it, they can make the choice to use it as part of their own fitness regime. The feedback I have received is positive. The referees are enjoying it and are already feeling the benefits.” Heron, ranked No. 4 in Britain at middleweight during the early 90s, insisted the training provides the “ultimate fitness workout”. He has plans in the pipeline to provide training and activities at TEBA for local children.

Anyone interested in visiting the Edinburgh Boxing Academy should contact Sean on 0131 551 5454 or 07858 301 377.