AFL general manager football operations Mark Evans today announced that Luke Ball would continue in his senior role with the AFL umpiring department through the remainder of the 2016 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
Ball, who had been working in the AFL's football operations department, stepped in last month to take over a number of the duties of former AFL umpiring director Wayne Campbell, after Campbell resigned to take a senior position within the GWS Giants football department.
Mr Evans said he had written to all clubs last night that Ball would now remain in the role for the rest of the season and, with AFL umpiring coach Hayden Kennedy, would be the primary contact point on umpiring matters for the AFL clubs.
"Luke has been working with the umpiring department and liaising with our clubs for a number of weeks since Wayne's departure, and has performed particularly impressively," Evans said.
"He will continue in the role through to the end of the season Mr Evans said, when the structure of the AFL umpiring department and the best use of resources would be analysed.
Separately, Mr Evans had also notified clubs on a number of key operational points, including the continued use of the shot clock, potential interchanges of players under the blood rule late in matches and a number of other football-related matters.
- The AFL will continue to use the shot clock, as it assists umpires in match control, but will not operate it during the final two minutes of a quarter. The umpire will instruct a player to move the ball if he is clearly delaying the commencement of his goal kicking routine.
- Interchanges for blood rule reasons for both players leaving and returning to the field will be exempt once the interchange cap of 90 has been reached.
- The AFL will discuss with the Laws of the Game committee at its next meeting whether the interpretation of deliberate rushed behinds also needs to be tightened in 2017, in line with the changes made to deliberate out of bounds for this season.
- The AFL will again trial the use of four field umpires, as was done late last season, with the trial to occur across the split rounds in rounds 13-15.
- Clubs were reminded on their requirements around public comment before any MRP/Tribunal hearing, regarding on-field disciplinary incidents, and also given detail on the increasing number of financial sanctions currently being issued for low-level strikes and melee involvement, as against last season.