THE PUSH for the AFL to employ full-time whistleblowers is growing within its own ranks, as the umpiring department continues to explore the concept.

The idea of full-time umpires has been debated over the years, with former umpires boss Wayne Campbell dismissing the concept when he took over the job in 2014.

However the idea has since re-surfaced, and is gaining support from umpires following last month's AFL umpires study tour in Europe.

Interim umpires boss Luke Ball acknowledged the League was likely to have at least one full-time official in the "not too distant future", but wouldn't set a time frame.

Thirty-two umpires, coaches and support staff spent 12 days visiting London, Normandy and Barcelona, meeting with officials from a number of sporting codes, including the English Premier League, tennis, rugby union and cricket.

The EPL has 18 full-time referees, including John Moss, who addressed the touring group during their time in London.

AFL umpire Rob Findlay, who is also an engineer, admitted he returned from the trip open to the idea of full-time umpiring.  

"I've always said that I love having two jobs because it doesn't put too much pressure on my umpiring as I've always got something to fall back on," Findlay told

"But listening to John Moss, who is a current EPL referee who has been a part-timer and is now a full-timer, he said the balance he now has in his life is amazing and is well worth going to full-time.

"If you had have asked me that question four weeks ago I would have said no, I love my day job, I want to balance both and I couldn't see myself becoming a full-time umpire, but having heard what he had to say about it, I'm certainly open to that opportunity now."

While the training loads and demands on AFL umpires wouldn't change dramatically in a full-time role, their ability to balance work-life commitments would be improved significantly, and umpires believe that would have great benefits for their mental wellbeing, an area on which the umpiring department is keen to work.

The League is considering implementing more psychological training and support for its umpires as it tries to deal with the growing pressure on officials.

The EPL has two full-time psychologists to ensure their referees are coping with the pressure of the job, while the AFL has a sports psychologist available to umpires on a part-time basis.

"The EPL have a really comprehensive mental training program that they roll out to their referees over a two-to-three-year period," Findlay said.

"Compare that to the AFL umpiring department, where we have a part-time sports psychologist who they make available to us anytime we choose, but it's really up to us as to how much we use her.

"Maybe a dozen times a year she'll run a half hour session at training, but I think the fact that the EPL has two full-time psychologists is significant.

"We put a lot of pressure on ourselves as individuals. We've got pressure coming from the football community expecting us to service the game, and we have pressure from our coaches expecting high levels of performance."

The study tour to Europe was the second the AFL umpires have organised, with the first taking place in New York in 2014.

The 12-day trip ended in a fitness camp in Barcelona, which included a six-and-a-half-hour, 22km hike up Mt Monteseny.