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

        2014 Home and Away

        Round 1
        Fri, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
        COL 46 vs FRE 116 Report Stats
        Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
        GWS 99 vs SYD 67 Report Report Stats
        GCF 87 vs RIC 69 Report Stats
        Sun, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
        CAR 87 vs PTA 120 Report Stats
        Thu, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
        GEE 119 vs ADE 81 Report Stats
        Fri, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
        NTH 60 vs ESS 99 Report Stats
        Sat, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
        HAW 139 vs BRI 91 Report Stats
        STK 68 vs MEL 51 Report Stats
        Sun, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
        WCE 134 vs WBU 69 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Thu, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
        RIC 98 vs CAR 86 Report Stats
        Fri, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
        ESS 86 vs HAW 90 Report Stats
        Sat, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
        STK 95 vs GWS 88 Stats
        PTA 127 vs ADE 73 Report Stats
        FRE 87 vs GCF 39 Report Stats
        SYD 69 vs COL 89 Report Stats
        Sun, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
        BRI 68 vs GEE 93 Stats
        MEL 30 vs WCE 123 Report Stats
        WBU 54 vs NTH 83 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        HAW 137 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
        Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
        WBU 100 vs RIC 98 Report Stats
        ADE 71 vs SYD 134 Report Stats
        GCF 114 vs BRI 61 Stats
        WCE 83 vs STK 58 Report Stats
        COL 76 vs GEE 87 Report Stats
        Sun, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
        GWS 79 vs MEL 47 Report Stats
        NTH 97 vs PTA 90 Report Stats
        ESS 138 vs CAR 57 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 72 vs COL 110 Report Stats
        Sat, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        CAR 58 vs MEL 81 Report Stats
        PTA 159 vs BRI 46 Report Stats
        GWS 83 vs WBU 110 Report Stats
        GEE 107 vs WCE 32 Report Stats
        GCF 49 vs HAW 148 Report Stats
        Sun, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
        SYD 48 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
        STK 50 vs ADE 136 Report Stats
        FRE 113 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Thu, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        BRI 63 vs RIC 106 Report Stats
        Sat, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        COL 93 vs NTH 58 Report Stats
        SYD 92 vs FRE 75 Report Stats
        WCE 56 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
        ESS 65 vs STK 81 Report Stats
        Sun, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
        ADE 137 vs GWS 72 Report Stats
        MEL 78 vs GCF 86 Report Stats
        WBU 91 vs CAR 119 Report Stats
        Mon, 21 AprTimes shown AEST
        GEE 106 vs HAW 87 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        COL 83 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
        STK 79 vs BRI 82 Report Stats
        FRE 61 vs NTH 74 Report Stats
        Sat, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        GCF 134 vs GWS 94 Report Stats
        CAR 92 vs WCE 89 Report Stats
        MEL 38 vs SYD 69 Report Stats
        Sun, 27 AprTimes shown AEST
        WBU 83 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
        RIC 52 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
        PTA 107 vs GEE 67 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 70 vs COL 104 Report Stats
        Sat, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
        HAW 175 vs STK 30 Report Stats
        GWS 97 vs PTA 132 Report Stats
        ADE 67 vs MEL 70 Report Stats
        BRI 44 vs SYD 123 Stats
        ESS 73 vs WBU 65 Report Stats
        Sun, 04 MayTimes shown AEST
        NTH 77 vs GCF 120 Report Stats
        GEE 81 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
        WCE 54 vs FRE 73 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD 107 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
        Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        PTA 94 vs FRE 76 Report Stats
        BRI 57 vs ESS 65 Report Stats
        MEL 83 vs WBU 99 Report Stats
        Sun, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
        WCE 188 vs GWS 77 Report Stats
        Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 69 vs CAR 101 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Thu, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        ADE 76 vs COL 55 Report Stats
        Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 64 vs SYD 114 Report Stats
        Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        RIC 74 vs MEL 91 Report Stats
        NTH 125 vs BRI 38 Report Stats
        FRE 96 vs GEE 64 Report Stats
        Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 87 vs GCF 125 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        GEE 111 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
        Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        GWS 41 vs RIC 154 Report Stats
        COL 109 vs WCE 101 Report Stats
        PTA 100 vs HAW 86 Report Stats
        Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
        GCF 119 vs WBU 74 Report Stats
        CAR 81 vs ADE 76 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Thu, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD 148 vs GEE 38 Report Stats
        Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 54 vs COL 140 Report Stats
        Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        MEL 75 vs PTA 95 Report Stats
        BRI 98 vs CAR 91 Report Stats
        ESS 104 vs RIC 54 Report Stats
        Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
        ADE 109 vs GCF 77 Report Stats
        WBU 51 vs FRE 89 Report Stats
        HAW 94 vs GWS 87 Report Stats
        WCE 44 vs NTH 82 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 107 vs CAR 102 Report Stats
        Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW 123 vs WCE 79 Report Stats
        PTA 129 vs STK 59 Report Stats
        WBU 87 vs BRI 95 Report Stats
        GWS 66 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
        Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCF 74 vs SYD 109 Report Stats
        FRE 90 vs ADE 50 Report Stats
        NTH 116 vs RIC 88 Report Stats
        Mon, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
        MEL 28 vs COL 61 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR 90 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
        Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC 85 vs FRE 105 Report Stats
        SYD 98 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
        WCE 103 vs GCF 100 Report Stats
        BRI 80 vs GWS 125 Report Stats
        ADE 109 vs NTH 73 Report Stats
        Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 133 vs STK 37 Report Stats
        COL 98 vs WBU 106 Report Stats
        ESS 77 vs MEL 78 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC 51 vs SYD 62 Report Stats
        Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        PTA 128 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
        HAW 115 vs COL 86 Report Stats
        GCF 118 vs GEE 78 Report Stats
        FRE 105 vs BRI 22 Report Stats
        ESS 101 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
        GWS 100 vs CAR 92 Report Stats
        STK 70 vs WCE 103 Report Stats
        MEL 66 vs NTH 107 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 89 vs ESS 80 Report Stats
        Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW 116 vs GCF 63 Report Stats
        STK 73 vs RIC 117 Report Stats
        FRE 88 vs WCE 81 Report Stats
        SYD 106 vs GWS 60 Stats
        BRI 70 vs NTH 66 Report Stats
        Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
        WBU 91 vs MEL 85 Report Stats
        ADE 99 vs PTA 76 Report Stats
        COL 91 vs CAR 76 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        NTH 108 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
        Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC 79 vs BRI 54 Stats
        GWS 72 vs ADE 140 Report Stats
        GCF 80 vs COL 75 Report Stats
        MEL 34 vs FRE 97 Report Stats
        PTA 60 vs ESS 62 Report Stats
        Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR 151 vs STK 66 Report Stats
        WCE 51 vs SYD 79 Report Stats
        GEE 69 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
        ADE 92 vs HAW 104 Report Stats
        Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
        MEL 36 vs GEE 102 Report Stats
        NTH 92 vs STK 33 Report Stats
        WBU 94 vs GCF 66 Report Stats
        BRI 64 vs WCE 76 Report Stats
        SYD 122 vs CAR 51 Report Stats
        Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC 126 vs PTA 106 Report Stats
        ESS 103 vs COL 39 Report Stats
        FRE 136 vs GWS 60 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR 109 vs NTH 86 Report Stats
        Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
        STK 118 vs FRE 60 Report Stats
        GWS 87 vs GEE 94 Report Stats
        Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
        PTA 72 vs MEL 69 Report Stats
        WBU 94 vs ESS 101 Report Stats
        Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
        WCE 42 vs RIC 59 Report Stats
        Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
        BRI 110 vs GCF 56 Report Stats
        HAW 104 vs SYD 94 Report Stats
        Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
        COL 82 vs ADE 98 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Thu, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
        FRE 83 vs CAR 78 Report Stats
        Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD 79 vs ESS 57 Report Stats
        Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE 105 vs WCE 136 Report Stats
        RIC 89 vs GWS 62 Report Stats
        GCF 117 vs STK 64 Report Stats
        NTH 79 vs GEE 111 Report Stats
        Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
        MEL 51 vs BRI 74 Stats
        HAW 107 vs WBU 45 Report Stats
        COL 76 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
        RIC 95 vs ESS 77 Report Stats
        Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
        GWS 51 vs NTH 126 Report Stats
        CAR 97 vs GCF 58 Report Stats
        HAW 115 vs MEL 65 Report Stats
        PTA 58 vs SYD 84 Report Stats
        GEE 81 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
        Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI 63 vs ADE 168 Report Stats
        STK 99 vs WBU 122 Report Stats
        WCE 126 vs COL 66 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
        CAR 76 vs GEE 82 Report Stats
        Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD 127 vs STK 56 Stats
        GCF 47 vs PTA 56 Report Stats
        ESS 77 vs WCE 74 Report Stats
        COL 56 vs BRI 123 Report Stats
        ADE 69 vs RIC 79 Report Stats
        Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH 111 vs WBU 61 Report Stats
        MEL 34 vs GWS 98 Report Stats
        FRE 110 vs HAW 91 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
        PTA 140 vs CAR 37 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH 101 vs ADE 94 Report Stats
        ESS 108 vs GCF 89 Report Stats
        GWS 67 vs COL 75 Report Stats
        WCE 119 vs MEL 53 Report Stats
        HAW 94 vs GEE 71 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI 48 vs FRE 106 Report Stats
        WBU 67 vs SYD 130 Report Stats
        RIC 98 vs STK 72 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL 56 vs HAW 121 Stats
        Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
        CAR 90 vs ESS 90 Stats
        FRE 105 vs PTA 97 Stats
        SYD 65 vs RIC 68 Stats
        NTH 123 vs MEL 93 Stats
        GEE 143 vs BRI 81 Stats
        Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
        GCF 99 vs WCE 151 Stats
        ADE 141 vs STK 62 Stats
        WBU 109 vs GWS 115 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        AFL Finals Round 1
        Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
        HAW 104 vs GEE 68 Report Stats
        Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 93 vs FRE 69 Stats
        NTH 93 vs ESS 81 Stats
        Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
        PTA 132 vs RIC 75 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        AFL Finals Round 2
        Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
        GEE 92 vs NTH 98 Stats
        Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
        FRE 83 vs PTA 105 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        AFL Finals Round 3
        Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 136 vs NTH 65 Report Stats
        Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
        HAW 97 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        AFL Finals Round 4
        Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 74 vs HAW 137 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        AFL Home and Away
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D % Pts
        Sydney Swans 22 17 5 0 142.88 68
        Hawthorn 22 17 5 0 140.78 68
        Geelong Cats 22 17 5 0 113.77 68
        Fremantle 22 16 6 0 130.40 64
        Port Adelaide 22 14 8 0 129.92 56
        North Melbourne 22 14 8 0 117.04 56
        Essendon 22 12 9 1 106.34 50
        Richmond 22 12 10 0 105.77 48
        View all
         
        Featured advertisers