Footy will be back on our television’s tonight! Whether you agree or disagree, our umpires are fully prepared to officiate in those games. We are not immune to the community concerns about the virus nor the virus itself. Consequently, we have worked with the AFL Umpiring Department to put a range of strategies in place, to as far as possible, minimise the risk of virus transmission for our umpires’.
When travelling, umpires will catch the chartered flights provided for the clubs. If that isn’t possible when planes don’t originate in Melbourne, Virgin Airlines have agreed to isolate our umpires within planes to minimise the risk. Umpires will travel in chauffeured cars to and from airports and games.
Umpires will have single rooms and meals will be prepared and provided as they are normally in first class hotels across Australia.
At the grounds, umpires will no longer go into the player’s rooms before games and will prepare as normal in their rooms. Ice baths have been banned and a hot/cold shower regime introduced.
The AFLUA has been working alongside the AFL in trying to minimise the risk for our umpires. If an umpire doesn’t want to umpire they are not required to do so.
Our umpires have not trained together as a group for over a week now. All AFL umpires across Australia have trained independently to reduce the risk of contracting the virus and spreading it among our umpires. Our field umpires have personal GPS devices that track all their training and game running for the past 12 months, they are monitored by the AFL Strength and Conditioning Coach, Rob Jackson. All coaching has been conducted remotely using a program called Hudle.
The AFLUD and UA have a great support network to wrap around the umpires, including doctor, physiotherapists, a psychologist and a wellbeing psychologist who are all working together with our umpires to assist them in their preparation
The corona virus has had a significant on everyone. This situation is unprecedented, evolving and challenging for all involved. Please stay safe during this difficult time.
Get your snacks and liquid refreshments ready and be comforted that we are looking after the welfare of our umpires as they all head into season 2020 and all that it brings.