BOYS IN GREEN: The Darling Downs AFL competition is facing a major umpire shortage. (Picture: File)
BOYS IN GREEN: The Darling Downs AFL competition is facing a major umpire shortage. (Picture: File)

How nationwide umpire shortage will impact Darling Downs AFL

AS ROUND one of the Darling Downs AFL competition closes in, there is still one major challenge facing the competition.

The coronavirus pandemic has left a major shortage of the boys in green across the country, however according to officials the season will go ahead as planned.

Queensland Umpiring manager James Waldorff said it has been tough to service every division of every community league.

“Given the current climate all clubs across the Darling Downs have been given notice of the possibility that we will need to appoint club based umpires from time to time,” Waldorff said.

“With current numbers where they are and a lack of experienced based in our regional centres, it will pose some challenges in the appointment process but AFLQ will work with clubs accordingly.

“There definitely is an umpiring shortage, however it isn’t limited to the Darling Downs, Queensland. It is Australia wide.”

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Despite the shortage, Waldorff is confident between the clubs and the umpiring organisations they will be able to provide umpires.

Waldorff said there are no plans to alter fixtures or venues based on umpiring constraints.

“We’re confident between our registered umpire base and assistance from home and away club based umpires appointment requirements will be met,” Waldorff said.

“Requirements for club appointed umpires will be worked through with clubs, AFLQ and the Regional Umpiring Manager where needed.

“Co-operation and assistance from all clubs, both home and visiting, will be required to ensure club based umpire needs are met across the season.”

Waldorff said becoming an umpire is really easy and is a great way to get fit and make some money.

“The AFL has a great yet simple introduction to umpiring course, which gives anyone required or interested in picking up a whistle the basic principles and philosophies of umpiring,” Waldorff said.

“No experience or formal qualification is necessary for club umpires and we encourage anyone who is looking for some extra cash and is keen to get fit to come and give it a go.

“Once you register your interest through the umpire AFL website we can provide some basic education and support that will get you in the game in no time.”

Round one of the Darling Downs AFL competition is scheduled to get underway Saturday July 11, with the South Burnett Saints hosting the Dalby Swans, Coolaroo taking on the Goondiwindi Hawks, The Toowoomba Bombers taking on the Toowoomba Tigers and Warwick having a round one bye.

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