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Grace Geyoro of France celebrates with team mates after scoring their team’s fifth goal during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 group D match between France and Italy at The New York Stadium on July 10, 2022 in Rotherham. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)


Empowering women in football: Pioneering research launched into tracking menstrual cycles

UEFA allocates €20,000 to research menstrual cycle effects on athletes’ performance and help teams and clubs improve their players’ health and well-being.

Understanding the intricate relationship between the menstrual cycle and an athlete’s well-being and performance is essential to enabling the full potential of female players. For this reason, we are investing in pioneering research on the topic, led by a women’s health expert panel established in 2021.

The initiative recognises the pressing need for comprehensive research and data-driven insights related to female players’ health. The research panel includes football doctors and sports scientists, who meet regularly to identify key areas warranting further investigation. One glaring gap that emerged from these discussions was the inconsistent tracking and utilisation of data on menstrual health – a critical aspect often overlooked in the area of women’s football.

To address this gap, UEFA has allocated €20,000 to research for the current season, with an equivalent sum earmarked for 2024/25, underlining our commitment to driving change in the health and well-being of female footballers. Working closely with the research group responsible for our women’s elite club injury study, which looks at data from 15 top European clubs, we aim to better understand and explain the impact of menstrual cycles on a player’s performance.

Millie Bright, Chelsea F.C Women, explains:

Establishing a consensus on menstrual cycle tracking is a great step towards prioritising and addressing our needs as female players. By normalising conversations about this topic, it creates an environment where we feel comfortable and supported which contributes to small wins on the pitch.

Kirsty Eliott-Sale, professor of female endocrinology and exercise physiology at Manchester University and a member of the women’s health expert panel, said:

It is very exciting to contribute to and lead the outcome of the UEFA consensus on menstrual cycle tracking in football. A thoughtful approach to menstrual health can empower women in football. This initiative demonstrates inclusivity and is a testament to UEFA’s commitment to advancing women’s football.

The research focuses on six core questions:

  • What evidence exists regarding the relationship between the menstrual cycle and athlete performance and health?
  • Which menstrual cycle measures are meaningful to track in relation to athlete performance and health?
  • What valid, reliable and practical methods exist for tracking the menstrual cycle in athletes?
  • What are the best practices for disseminating and implementing useful menstrual cycle tracking in football?
  • Are research and statistical methods relevant for menstrual cycle analyses, considering the high intra- and inter-variability among players?
  • How do football players and medical staff perceive and experience menstrual cycle tracking?

The evidence-based insights and recommendations that come out of this collaborative project are expected to be published this summer. Based on those findings, UEFA will produce practical guidelines and toolkits for club and national teams across Europe to help them implement their own consistent, reliable and meaningful menstrual cycle tracking protocols.


Webinar on menstrual cycle tracking – 25 March

This month, UEFA will host a webinar on menstrual cycle tracking, hosted by two keynote speakers: Kirsty Eliott-Sale, Professor of Female Endocrinology and Exercise Physiology at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Emma Paternotte, Dr. Dept of Gynecology. Gelre Hospital Apeldoorn/Zutphen

📅 25 March

 from 18:00 to 19:00 CET.

🔗 Join the webinar by clicking here.

Credit: UEFA 

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