AFL General Manager Football Operations Steve Hocking has today written to all Clubs following several public comments made in recent weeks by senior AFL Coaches and players relating to umpiring and has reminded all AFL Club Coaches, players and officials of their responsibilities under the AFL Regulations.

While the AFL appreciates the enormous sacrifices the umpires, players, coaches and officials are making to keep the season going and ensuring the future security of the competition, it acknowledges everyone within the game has a responsibility to demonstrate respect and sportsmanship towards each other.

The AFL and its Clubs’ obligation to fans and participants of all ages is to establish and maintain the standards for the code. Australian Football has a unique leadership role in the community, and with that role comes responsibility.

We recognise that this year has been challenging for so many in the community and those within the football industry are not immune to those challenges.

The willingness of everyone in football to play their part is to be commended – at every turn throughout the last four months everyone in football continues to make significant sacrifices to ensure we not only protect the AFL competition but also the wider community. We must maintain a collaborative approach within the industry, the same approach that ensured we were able to return to play despite the numerous hurdles we have faced so far.

The comments made in recent weeks are against the spirit of the game and are not examples of the conduct required by leaders within the AFL. 

The message today is to be expressive, have an opinion, and provide insight for fans, but to do so in a manner that shows a level of respect to all involved.

AFL Regulations as they relate to Umpiring are as follows: 

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