Football is a global game which is constantly evolving, showing substantial increases in physical and technical demands. Nutrition plays a valuable integrated role in optimising performance of elite players during training and match-play, and maintaining their overall health throughout the season. An evidence-based approach to nutrition emphasising, a ’food first’ philosophy (ie, food over supplements), is fundamental to ensure effective player support. This requires relevant scientific evidence to be applied according to the constraints of what is practical and feasible in the football setting. The science underpinning sports nutrition is evolving fast, and practitioners must be alert to new developments. In response to these developments, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has gathered experts in applied sports nutrition research as well as practitioners working with elite football clubs and national associations/federations to issue an expert statement on a range of topics relevant to elite football nutrition: (1) match day nutrition, (2) training day nutrition, (3) body composition, (4) stressful environments and travel, (5) cultural diversity and dietary considerations, (6) dietary supplements, (7) rehabilitation, (8) referees and (9) junior high-level players. The expert group provide a narrative synthesis of the scientific background relating to these topics based on their knowledge and experience of the scientific research literature, as well as practical experience of applying knowledge within an elite sports setting. Our intention is to provide readers with content to help drive their own practical recommendations. In addition, to provide guidance to applied researchers where to focus future efforts.
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