Over the last week, between the 6th-13th of May, the AFL and local football leagues have celebrated Community Umpiring Round.

The aim of the week, which is heavily promoted by the AFL, is to promote umpiring and to celebrate the umpires that contribute so much to our great game week in, week out.

As everyone is now aware, umpiring numbers have taken a huge hit over the last few seasons, which has heavily impacted many leagues around Victoria. It is now more important than ever to show respect for the umpires within our league and ensure that our behaviour is representative of the core values of junior sport.

Over the last few seasons, our MPJFL Umpire Academy has been at the forefront of our focus, as we turn our attention to the next generation of up-and-coming young umpires.  We currently have great numbers umpiring each weekend within the MPJFL, with players from clubs within our league stepping up to tackle umpiring, and reaping the many rewards of doing so.

Our Umpire Coach Cooper Marriott, Umpire Administrator Stephanie Firth, and the league executive, have worked tirelessly to ensure that all MPJFL games are filled each weekend, which has been achieved every round so far this season.

“I personally think community umpiring week is a great week where the wider football community are actually made aware of umpires, their role and the scrutiny and pressure they are under” Our Umpire Coach Cooper says. “We are lucky at MPJFL to have such a supportive league and coaching group to develop our umpires and it is a really exciting opportunity that kids as young as 12 are getting an opportunity to officiate a game of football” he continues.

“The best part isn’t about umpiring, but seeing how it grows these young adults allowing them to build on skills that they will use for the rest of their life. With an umpiring crisis, our numbers are yet the highest we have ever had and we are officiating over 60 games a week, this is a massive testament to the people involved in the league and umpiring. I’m really excited for the future of umpiring at MPJFL and strongly encourage anyone thinking about umpiring to come down and have a go. “ He adds.

Also during the week, AFL Head of Umpiring Dan Richardson thanked all umpires across the country for their commitment to the game.

“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to thank the 16,000 umpires across the country who ensure many Australians across all ages can play the game they love,” Mr Richardson said.

“Community Umpiring Week celebrates the significant role that all umpires play in our game, while highlighting the many benefits of the role including fitness, employment, life skills and a deeper understanding of Australian Football”.

Without umpires, we wouldn’t have a game, so please keep this in mind when you are next at the footy!

We are always on the lookout for new umpires, so if you or someone you know is interested in giving it a go, please get in touch with us via umpires@mpjfl.com.au.