JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Cost-cutting gives umps the hump

Umpires remain determined that their pay increases should prove proportionate to the players.

Umpires remain determined that their pay increases should prove proportionate to the players. Photo: Getty Images

THE prospect of trialling full-time umpires could fall victim to the AFL's savage cost-cutting campaign with the game's officiators also yet to reach a new pay deal with head office a full year after their last collective-bargaining agreement expired.

AFL umpires, owed thousands in back pay, have been frustrated by the failure to finalise terms almost two years after negotiations began for a new five-year agreement. The deal was to be in line with the AFL players' agreement last December.

The last delay was of the umpires choosing with the AFL Umpires Association putting off talks for one month to ensure its members were not distracted during the finals campaign by any potential stand-off.

Facing significant physical and mental demands given the increasing pace of the game and determined that their crucial part in the game is acknowledged as the competition grows, the umpires remain determined that their pay increases should prove proportionate to the players.

The two parties returned to the negotiating table three days ago with the umpires still confident of an estimated 22 per cent pay rise over the five-year term backdated from the start of the 2012 season.

The Age understands the AFL Umpires Association, which replaced its previous boss Bill Deller with new chief executive Peter Howe last November, has offered some cost-cutting solutions of its own to get the deal done.

Those measures include re-balancing the umpires' pay structure by significantly increasing their annual base payments but holding match payments in a bid to save the AFL significant injury payments.

The umpires have also proposed a move to slash travel costs by fielding local boundary and goal umpires in

their home cities. During the season it was revealed the AFL had embarked on a $5 million annual cost-cutting campaign.

AFL football operations boss Adrian Anderson, who is leading the negotiations for the league, said it would be wrong to construe the lengthy delay as insulting to the umpires - key stakeholders in the game but one key group whose numbers have not increased in line with others in the football industry.

''The broadcast rights were completed late,'' said Anderson, ''and the agreement with the players was late and then we had the five-year distributions to the clubs. Umpires have traditionally been the last group that we deal with.''

While the umpires believe the trialling of full-time officiators will be shelved Anderson said: ''Not necessarily. We haven't abandoned it altogether and I wouldn't count it out just yet.''

Said Howe: ''The negotiations are continuing and we're hopeful they'll be completed by the end of October.''

The best AFL field umpires earned more than $100,000 this year even before back payments. All umpires who officiate more than 10 senior games also receive bonuses.

This season the AFL's 32 field umpires, who received only the 3.1 per cent CPI rise, earned $56,000 in base payments and $1300 a match. Field umpires in the first two weeks of the finals were paid a further $7000 for those games.

Brett Rosebury, Matt Stevic, Simon Meredith and Mat Nicholls each earned about $17,000 for umpiring the 2012 grand final.

The AFL umpiring budget for 2012 - the game also employs 42 boundary and 27 goal umpires - was about $9 million.

17 comments so far

  • I suspect the fiasco that was the NFL referees' strike will make the AFL think twice about pushing the umpires to striking point (a fact I doubt the umpires were slow to point out).

    Commenter
    Arky
    Date and time
    October 12, 2012, 12:08AM
    • Umpires work full time in another job, the fact they get paid up to 50 to 100k on top of their normal salary is an amazing deal, can’t believe they are fighting so hard for more, how about putting a little extra in the lower leagues to encourage young umpires to get into it. Physically demanding? Haha, running boundary with only 1 umpire on each side in a local football ball match in a mud pit is physically demanding, running it with 2 on each side on the pristine MCG grass is a nice day out. Oh I am adult; I get paid $60 a game in the local leagues.

      Commenter
      l
      Date and time
      October 12, 2012, 8:05AM
  • How much does the video umpire get? There's some savings to be made by abolishing that role!

    Commenter
    thirtyfiveblack
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    October 12, 2012, 7:19AM
    • I would be very happy to see the umpires paid $17,000 a game for every home and away game, if only they umpired as they did during the Grand Final.
      It seems that the direction must be coming from the top for this game; "do not make a dick of yourself". Or "the eyes of the world are on you, you are to be seen and not heard".
      The Umpiring in the Grand Final is traditionally the best umpired game of the year. Why? The rest of the year, the Umpires are trialling new rules, inconsistently implementing the rules we have, or manipulating the game, either for their own pontification or to influence a result.
      It makes extremely frustrated viewing and one has to ask why this is.
      Leave the game alone and let the players play. Pay the Umpires what they are worth, but make sure they are not influencing the game.

      Commenter
      Tiger of Old
      Location
      Carlton North
      Date and time
      October 12, 2012, 7:32AM
      • You're so right Tiger. That makes perfect sense. Umpires go out there to "pontificate and influence the result". They sit in the room before the game and work out their strategy . . . pay these free kicks, grandstand a bit, draw attention to yourself. We all know that's what they do, but you've just had the courage to say it. Good on you.

        This is completely logical, because if they pontificate and influence the result enough during the season, they keep getting selected to umpire. If they keep getting selected and pontificate enough and influence enough results, they are ranked as the best on the list. The pay off for being the best (pontificator and influencer) is they progress through to the grand final where they earn $17,000. At this point they don't need to pontificate anymore and the teams can decide the result.

        You've explained it so well.

        You should write more letters my good man.

        Commenter
        Dom in the Den
        Date and time
        October 12, 2012, 8:43AM
    • Endorsements, club sponsor connections, media etc. all give full-time footballers the chance to maximise opportunities for after their playing career.

      Would full time umpires be afforded the same opportunities? They would deserve it, but do we really want to see more of them than we already do?

      Be careful what you wish for.

      Commenter
      Marty
      Location
      Chelsea
      Date and time
      October 12, 2012, 9:32AM
      • Pay the umpires well. If anyone in the game deserves a good pay its the umps.

        They do a pretty thankless job and have to try and inforce some pretty grey rules.

        Commenter
        Barney
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        October 12, 2012, 9:42AM
        • Significant physical demands? Ever watched the third umpire standing around doing nothing 100 metres from the play. Ever watched the umpires come off after the game? Not even remotely close to being exhausted.
          By all means pay them whatever they are worth but if they actually put in a real physical effort and got themselves (all three) into better position by running more and running harder to position to enable them to make more accurate decisions, the game would undoubtedly be umpired better.

          Commenter
          Jeff
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          October 12, 2012, 9:46AM
          • "Not even remotely close to being exhausted. "

            It's called being fit. I don't think you can say they are constantly out of position.

            Commenter
            jed
            Location
            cbd
            Date and time
            October 12, 2012, 10:41AM
          • Well I've certainly seen full forwards "standing around doing nothing 100 metres from the play" too! I've also seen field and boundary umpires compete in athletics events at the Olympics.

            If you want umpires walking off the ground looking exhausted, you can also accept the same impaired decision-making late in quarters that affects so many players.

            I'm no umpire lover Jeff, but your argument is ridiculous. Sounds like the words of an old fart.

            Commenter
            Max
            Location
            Edithvale
            Date and time
            October 12, 2012, 3:09PM

        More comments

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        Related Coverage

        AFL 2015

        Round 1
        Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
        CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
        Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
        SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
        BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
        WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
        Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
        STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
        ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
        FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
        Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
        HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
        WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
        Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
        GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
        COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
        GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
        PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
        Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
        ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
        NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
        Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
        CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
        ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
        SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
        NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
        BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
        Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
        GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
        WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
        Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
        ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
        GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
        PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
        FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
        Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
        GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
        WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
        Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
        RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
        SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
        GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
        NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
        WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
        Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
        MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
        STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
        ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
        COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
        Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
        WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
        GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
        GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
        MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
        FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
        Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
        PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
        Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
        HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
        CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
        SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
        WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
        Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
        RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
        BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
        GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
        GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
        GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
        HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
        FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
        MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
        PTA 43 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD 122 vs CAR 62 Stats
        Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
        MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
        WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
        RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
        ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        BRI vs STK 13:10G
        COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
        WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
        FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
        Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
        GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
        ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
        PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
        NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
        STK vs HAW 16:40ES
        Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
        WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
        NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
        Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
        STK vs MEL 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
        ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
        Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
        GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
        WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
        Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
        FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
        Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
        Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
        BRI vs ADE 16:35G
        STK vs WBU 19:20ES
        Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
        Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
        COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
        Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
        GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
        WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
        MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
        Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs STK 13:10ES
        ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
        FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
        Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
        WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
        NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
        WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
        HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
        BRI vs SYD 16:40G
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
        NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
        Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
        GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
        COL vs WCE 16:35ES
        SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
        FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
        PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
        STK vs RIC 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
        Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
        ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
        RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
        ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
        BRI vs NTH 19:20G
        Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
        WBU vs COL 13:10ES
        MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
        WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
        Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
        COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
        SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
        CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
        GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
        Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
        PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
        ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
        FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
        Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
        WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
        BRI vs GCF 16:35G
        GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
        WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
        GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
        STK vs FRE 16:40ES
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
        Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
        ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
        NTH vs STK 14:10BA
        PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
        GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
        BRI vs CAR 19:20G
        Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
        WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
        FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
        HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
        Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
        GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
        GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
        STK vs GEE 19:20ES
        ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
        Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
        CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
        WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
        Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
        GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
        HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
        NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
        ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
        GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
        Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
        STK vs SYD 15:20ES
        FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
        COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
        RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
        HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
        GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
        SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
        MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
        BRI vs WBU 00:00G
        PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
        WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        AFL 2015
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D % Pts
        Fremantle 8 8 0 0 155.29 32
        Sydney Swans 9 7 2 0 134.49 28
        West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
        GWS Giants 8 6 2 0 118.87 24
        Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
        Adelaide Crows 8 5 3 0 116.32 20
        Hawthorn 8 4 4 0 145.81 16
        Richmond 8 4 4 0 107.64 16
        View all
         
        Featured advertisers