CHAMPION midfielder Greg Williams has called on umpires to "back off" and give players more space in the wake of four separate umpire contact incidents in the past two rounds.

Williams, a dual Brownlow medallist, was hit with an infamous nine-match ban for touching an umpire in 1997 while playing for Carlton.

The controversial suspension saw Carlton take the matter to court, but ultimately ended his illustrious career.

Two current Blues – brothers Ed and Charlie Curnow – will face the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night for separate umpire-touching incidents in their win over Essendon last week.

HAWKINS BANNED Tribunal finds big Cat guilty for umpire contact 

Gold Coast co-captain Steven May was cleared of his contact with an umpire at the Tribunal on Monday night, however Cats forward Tom Hawkins last week copped a one-week suspension for touching an umpire in Geelong's win over Greater Western Sydney.

Hawkins described the set of umpire contact charges as a "coincidence", but Williams believes umpires are getting too close to players.

"I think players have got their own space and I really don’t think umpires should go into it. I reckon they get too close to them and they have to keep their space from the player. I really do," Williams told

"Touching them is not on in any circumstances, but if the umpire's at least a metre or two metres away, it's not going to happen. I really think they just need to back off a bit and stay a metre or a metre-and-a-half away.

"It mightn't be that simple, but I don't like people in my space even walking down the street. It is a stressful game."

Williams said he was surprised May was cleared by the Tribunal and that he believed Hawkins' one-match suspension was the right decision.

However, the former Carlton, Geelong and Sydney great said he thought Charlie Curnow was attempting to shield the umpire in his case during a scuffle of opposing players.

"You can't touch them, obviously that's the No.1 thing, but I thought Charlie was protecting the umpire a bit and saying 'Mate, just don't go in there'," he said.

"I thought he was shepherding him off to stop him getting in there and from getting bumped. That was my opinion. But you can't touch them and unfortunately they did."

The 250-gamer, who was named in Carlton's team of the century, was adamant intentional contact with umpires should be stamped out but that incidental contact was a part of the frenetic nature of the game.

"Obviously there's 20 players around the ball so it's hard for the umpires once they throw it up to get out of there, it's dangerous sometimes. The players do well to avoid them 95 per cent of the time," Williams said.