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Impact of Ramadan on physical performance in professional soccer players
  1. Yacine Zerguini1,
  2. Donald Kirkendall2,
  3. Astrid Junge2,
  4. Jiri Dvorak2
  1. 1Centre d’Evaluation et d’Expertise en Médecine du Sport, Algiers, Algeria
  2. 2FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre, Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to:
 J Dvorak
 F-MARC, Schulthess Klinik, Lengghalde 2, CH-8008, Zurich, Switzerland; jiri.dvorak{at}


Objective: Ramadan is a period of daylight abstention from liquid or solid nutrients. As sports continue to be scheduled, an understanding of the effects of Ramadan on Muslim athletes is warranted.

Design: Two Algerian professional soccer teams (55 men) were studied. Field tests of physical and soccer performance were collected before, at the end and 2 weeks after Ramadan in 2004. Players were queried on sleeping habits and personal perception of training and match performance.

Setting: Field setting at club training ground.

Main outcome measures: Performance on fitness and skill tests.

Results: Performance declined significantly (p<0.05) for speed, agility, dribbling speed and endurance, and most stayed low after the conclusion of Ramadan. Nearly 70% of the players thought that their training and performance were adversely affected during the fast.

Conclusions: The phase shift of food intake and disruption of sleep patterns affect actual and perceived physical performance. Islamic athletes need to explore strategies that will maximise performance during Ramadan.

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  • Published Online First 15 January 2007

  • Competing interests: None declared.