ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 21: Umpire Ray Chamberlain leads the umpires from the field after the round 18 AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and the Geelong Cats at Adelaide Oval on July 21, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images/AFL Media)
The AFL may look at recruiting senior club figures as part of a push to shift public perception around umpiring.
While football operations boss Steve Hocking is cautiously optimistic about the effect of the widespread rule changes so far this season, he is increasingly worried about the commentary around the umpires.
Hocking said he would talk to the AFL Coaches Association about potentially recruiting some of its members to be part of a campaign.
“We have some genuine work to do in that space and it’s not within the nine games on the weekend,” Hocking said.
“It’s how umpires are being talked about, reviewed constantly within games – critically.
“They do an unbelievable job… we need to change attitudes.
“It’s an industry thing.”
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Hocking said it is becoming an urgent problem in the game and added that it was not a matter of making umpires at the top level full-time.
He said players are “super-smart” at exploiting the rules and this puts even more pressure on the umpires.
“If we want a genuine funnel of umpires coming through, I think we need to change our language,” Hocking said.
“It’s bloody tough to get people to sign up to be an umpire.”
Source: Adelaide Crows website