The AFL has today written to Club General Managers of Football and Senior Coaches outlining the importance for respect towards umpires at all levels of the game.

As of today, AFL umpires have completed more than 600 club visits across the pre-season with a focus on interpretations relating to Time Delay and Holding the Ball and the AFL thanked each Club for the support of umpires at training and match simulation sessions.
 
AFL Executive General Manager Andrew Dillon said the league looked forward to 2022 being a year of consolidation on the field and reminded AFL Clubs, Coaches, Players and administrators of their obligation to fans and participants of all ages to establish and maintain the standards for the code and to take a leadership role in setting the right example in demonstrating respect towards umpires. 

“We recognise the past two years have been challenging for so many in the community and those within the football industry have not been immune to those challenges. The willingness of everyone in football to play their part is to be commended,” Mr Dillon said.

“While the AFL appreciates the enormous sacrifices Clubs have made and continue to make over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the league reminds everyone within the game that they have a responsibility to demonstrate respect and sportsmanship towards each other at all times.
 
“As part of the review of the 2021 season, we identified a number of instances where the AFL community fell short of those standards when it came to demonstrating respect towards umpires.
 
“The AFL and its Clubs have a unique leadership role in the community, and with that role comes responsibility. Disrespect towards umpires is an issue at all levels of football and has no place.

“We are 6,000 umpires short at the community football level and it is incumbent on us to set the right example at the elite level so we can encourage and retain umpires across the country to best support the rapidly growing player participation base.”
 
18.8.2 Free Kicks – Umpires
A field Umpire shall award a Free Kick against a Player or Official who: 
(a) uses abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene language towards an Umpire;
(b) behaves in an abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene manner towards an Umpire;
(c) intentionally, unreasonably or carelessly makes contact with an Umpire;
(d) disputes a decision of an Umpire;
(e) fails to follow the instruction of an Umpire; or 
(f) intentionally or carelessly engages in conduct which affects, interferes with or prevents an Umpire from performing their duties.
 
For reference, please also find below the Regulations as they relate to Public Comments on Umpiring and Approaches to Umpires: 

15.1 Public Comments on Umpires

Any person subject to these Regulations or AFL Rules, shall not make any public comment about an Umpire or a decision made by an Umpire. Where a person contravenes this Regulation, the person’s Club shall be liable to a sanction: 

Sanction:     Up to 20 units for first offence
                    Up to 100 units for a second or subsequent offence 

15.2 Approaches to Umpires 

(a) No person subject to these Regulations shall approach, talk to or intimidate an Umpire at any time prior to, during or after a Match including during the quarter time, half time or three quarter time interval or when the Umpires are entering or leaving the Arena. 

(b) Any team address shall be given outside the centre square. 

Where a person contravenes this Regulation, the person’s Club shall be liable to a sanction: 

Sanction:     Up to 20 Units for first offence 
                    Up to 50 Units for second and subsequent offence