Spare a thought for the players who were traded and those who weren’t over the past 10 days or so of the trade period. Some players held their own fate in their hands, others had to sit and wait until the trading was over to see if they would be offered a contract for 2020. Many do, but for others their dream of playing AFL footy may well be over unless they are thrown a life-line in the upcoming draft.
All 116 AFL umpires are on one-year performance-based contract, that like players, end on October 31. The AFL Umpiring Department is currently working through a list management process to determine who will be offered a new 2020 contract and who won’t. This year there were a number of umpires “put under review” towards the end of the season. For many it was the first indication that their time on an AFL umpire list (field, boundary or goal) might be tenuous.
Like AFL Clubs the AFL has an umpire’s list manager who reviews the performance of all our umpires and looks to the state league competitions to see who is coming through the ranks. The list manager is then responsible for the transition process of the list ready for the October 31 deadline when the lists need to be lodged and those who will not be offered a contract need to review their circumstances. Some will retire, some will go back to state leagues to mentor young umpires through the system whilst a few will join the coaching ranks and use their skills and expertise that way.
It’s a tough time for all 116 umpires and their coaches who will have some tough conversations in the next couple of weeks.