No boundary umpires? No goal umpires?
It seems pretty crazy to think about, but outspoken Collingwood president Eddie McGuire believes the revamp of the under-fire umpire system could help improve the game.
McGuire suggests the NFL system with long black and white uniforms should be the new dress code (no surprise eh?) and that we would have two respective field umpires on the goal lines, with four umpires patrolling the on-field areas.
All eight umpires have the ability to call a goal, make decisions, throw the ball in and control the game with their whistle. This hands more control over to the field umpires who have the power to reprimand and assert power to officiate over the players in heated situations (unlike a current boundary or goal umpire).
The talk of the new model for umpiring comes after another howler where Essendon was nearly robbed of a crucial win with a clear goal ruled play on as it was kept in the field of play. McGuire spoke to the Herald Sun about his new plan.
“My suggestion is all about what would you do if you started the game again today. How would your umpiring system look?” he said.
“We have made the game very hard for our umpires.
“And a lot of our really good umpires are getting old, so I want to keep them in the game. We could even bring back (AFL umpires boss) Hayden Kennedy under this one.
“If you zone the game up and let the action come to you, it’s much easier to officiate. They’ll be in the right positions, all of the time.”
The new system McGuire believes will help the life and longevity of the umpires as with limited running for four of the eight umpires, the team could simply swap roles (four goal lines and four field) on a game later in the round.
McGuire remarkably also thinks getting rid of the ‘touched off the boot rule’ will help with goal reviews, which will adjust one of the AFL’s longest-standing rules.
“The team that does Friday night can turn up again and do a game on Sunday afternoon,” McGuire said.
“You end up with less umpires and more professional umpires who are paid more.
“It cuts fatigue and gives our umpires longevity because at the moment an umpire has to have enormous athletic feats and for a party trick be able to bounce the ball on his head.
“The only skills we really need our umpires to have is decision-making skills.”
On the touched behind rule he stated “Now that we have we super-slow mo, it’s happening more than we thought,”
“If you kick the ball from 45m out and I get a fingernail on it and it goes through, why should I get the reward for not smothering it properly?
“Ged rid of touched and we’ve solved a massive amount of problems.”
It would certainly be a fresh change to the system but McGuire addresses a lot of valid points. What do you think of the proposed changes?