Monday night saw the AFLUA annual general meeting held for 2023.
Each year the AGM provides a forum for the CEO and President to address members, deliver annual reports, move motions, announce award winners, and take questions.
President Chris Donlon’s report noted the AFLUA’s sound financial position, and the extraordinary number of milestones reached in 2023.
The success of the relaunched Fiona McBurney Match Day Experience was a highlight for 2023. Chris thanked the volunteer chaperones and AFL trainers for their time and effort to deliver the programme.
The CEO’s report from Rob Kerr acknowledged that the year “was dominated by the collective bargaining agreement.” Rob thanked the AFL umpiring cohort for 100% membership, which puts the association in a position of strength.
The highlights out of the new CBA were as follows:
- Introduction of a ‘Career Transition Payment’ for retiring or delisted AFL umpires that have served for five continuous years on the AFL umpiring list.
- A new tiered structure for the payment of field umpires that takes into account performance and experience.
- A commitment from the AFL to invest in umpire facilities, including the scoping of a dedicated umpire training facility and a place for the AFLUA President in those discussions.
- In 2024, the AFL will put a motion to the AFL Clubs allowing for boundary and goal umpires to receive AFL Life Membership
Rob also thanked the committee members of the now renamed AFLUA Umpiring Hall of Fame, who throughout 2023 undertook the task of modernising the rules. Most notable is the broadening of criteria for induction to the Hall of Fame, which will allow membership to those umpires who made exceptional contributions to state leagues outside the VFL/AFL, before an AFL club was established in their state.
Both Rob and Chris praised hard work of the executive committee, squad representatives, and office staff, making special note of the work of David Flegg AM, Matt Kelleher, Peter Kelly and Tathagata Mukhopadyay.
The President and CEOs reports also looked forward to 2024, highlighting investment into the AFLUA’s digital presence to “continue to build on the connection and reach with our members past and present.” Another priority for 2024 will be evaluating how effectively the wellbeing of umpires is supported by the AFL.
The association confirmed Michael Craig, Damien Cusack, Mark Ensbey, Tim Lougoon, John Marrapodi, Josh Mather, Jason Moore, Rob O’Gorman and Brent Wallace as life members.
A special resolution was unanimously passed to recognise Peter Howe’s outstanding contributions to the association by honouring him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Umpires that had reached milestones during the 2023 season were recognised:
500 AFL Games: Brett Rosebury
400 AFL Games: Mathew Nicholls, Adam Coote and Chris Donlon
300 AFL Games: Michael Marantelli
200 AFL Games: Nick Foot, Brett Rogers, Leigh Fisher, Craig Fleer and Andrew Stephens
100 AFL Games: Michael Barker, Michael Barlow, Dylan Benwell, Chris Delany, Patrick Dineen, Josh Furman, Andre Gianfagna, Adam Reardon, Brent Wallace, Sam Walsh
50 AFLW Games: Trent Bowes and Greta Miller
Additionally, the 2023 AFL and AFLW All-Australian umpires were recognised, as well as the 2023 AFLW rising star, Melissa Sambrooks.
Finally, the 2024 Executive Committee was confirmed:
- President – Chris Donlon
- Vice-President – Michael Saunders
- Field Umpire Representative – Andrew Stephens
- Boundary Umpire Representative – Josh Furman
- Goal Umpire Representative – Michael Craig
- AFLW Representative – Anthony Laughton
- Chief Executive Officer – Rob Kerr
Thanks to all those members that attended the AGM, your participation is an invaluable contribution to the association.
Article by Jackson Kerr