Frequently Asked Questions

How old do I need to be in order to umpire?

Individuals who will be in Year 8 at secondary school, or older in the year they begin umpiring, are eligible to register as an umpire for the season. This usually means you will be around 13½ years old when you start.

I’m a parent of a prospective umpire – what should I know?

Being in at least year 8 we assume that umpires will have their own email address which they must be responsible for checking, as this is the main means of communication. Even our newest umpires are encouraged to communicate directly with coaches, appointments coordinator and Director of Umpiring when necessary rather than relying on parents to call. For most young umpires this will be their first “real” job, and they need to learn to communicate on an adult level about “work” matters.

Please encourage your young umpire to take ownership of their job, and ensure they understand that all communications must conform to what would be deemed suitable in an office. In the past we have had umpires text or email the Director of Umpiring without so much as a “hello”, issuing demands or bluntly complaining and not bothering to leave a name (obviously we’ll know who it is from an email address or mobile number!) – in short treating an employer with less civility than is due.

The field umpire is responsible for filling out an online report after each match. We request this is done on match day, as most are at school and not contactable on Monday which is when we finalise pay reports. If after several attempts to contact an umpire by email/text and they don’t respond we will contact a parent but would prefer not to have to do this.
Part of the reasoning behind this request is to encourage our young boys and girls to become confident young men and women. Umpiring is a fantastic way of developing their self-confidence and leadership skills at this age.

Do I need a minimum fitness level?

Obviously, a general level of fitness is required to be an umpire. More important is the commitment required to maintain or increase fitness levels during the season.

Male or Female?

It really doesn’t matter! Everyone is equally welcomed to be part of the SMJFL Umpire Program. We had 12% of our group in 2016 who were female, and with the increase in Girls footy for 2017 would love to increase that to 20% or more – so come on girls!

How much do I need to know about Australian Rules football and its laws?

You will be fully trained on the laws of Australian Rules football, along with the By-Laws specific to competition within the SMJFL. But, if you want to get an early start, long onto AFL Community Club website www.aflcommunityclub.com.au > Umpires > Laws of the game

What will be my time commitment – training / game day?

Training occurs weekly from late February onwards and is of one (1) hr duration. 4.45pm warmup then train 5.00-6.00pm
The total time commitment on game day depends on the number of games to which an umpire is appointed, the age group being umpired and the venue.
NOTE: Umpires are required to attend their appointed venue 30 minutes prior to the game scheduled start time.

How do I register my interest for next season?

If you are: 1) Interested in umpiring for the first time 2) Already an umpire in another league and wish to be appointed to games in the SMJFL; or 3) Wanting to return to the SMJFL for another year of umpiring:-

Head to our page “Register” under the umpires tab on this website. Once registrations are closed for the season there will be a form for you to register your interest for the following season. If registrations are open for the season, details on registering will all be there.

How do I register as an Umpire in the SMJFL?

We are now taking registrations for 2017. Head to our “Registrations” page (Click on the Umpires > Register menus) and follow instructions to register. Please note there are separate methods for new or returning umpires.

All SMJFL Umpires are required to register themselves online at SportsTG before umpiring a match. This online registration process is a compulsory requirement for ALL umpires as listed through the AFL’s National Umpire Registration Process to comply with the privacy amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012. You can register online using the link on our “Register” tab, under Umpires on this website.

Once you have clicked this link, select the option “I am registering to this group for the first time” and ensure you fill out all sections accordingly. Once you have completed your online registration you will receive an email from Fox Sports Pulse with details about what to do next, including how you can access Schedula, our appointments program.

I’ve registered. What happens now?

Stay tuned and keep fit! As the season approaches and plans are put in place, you will be advised of how to formally register and details of the Season Umpire Induction. Until then, enjoy staying fit and healthy over the summer.

What are my Umpiring Options?

Field
A challenging and rewarding activity, field umpires take control of up to 36 players and ‘call the shots’ on the big stage. The field umpiring career path involves three (3) progressive stages, with the pinnacle being umpiring at AFL level. The SMJFL appoints field umpires each week in all games from Under 11 through to Under 17. This includes the opportunity to umpire in the SMJFL’s exciting girls’ competition. In Under 14 to Under 17 games, two (2) field umpires are appointed to each game.

Boundary
For those who enjoy running or want to learn about the game, boundary umpiring is ideal. Boundary umpires are responsible for making decisions to whether the ball is in play, as well performing the boundary throw-in. In the SMJFL, boundary umpires officiate in Under 14, 15, 16 & 17 competition games, as well as all finals.

Goal
In the SMJFL goal umpires are appointed only during the final series. Goal umpiring does not form part of the SMJFL Umpire Training Program. If you have your heart set on becoming a goal umpire please contact one of the senior umpiring leagues such as the SFNL or VAFA.

WHEN does training commence?

All pre-season training will occur at Moorleigh Reserve from 5.00pm (warm-up from 4.45pm). Please check TRAINING tab for updated times.

WHERE and WHEN is training held?

Training for all umpires is held at Moorleigh Reserve in Bignell Road, East Bentleigh (Melways 78 B5). At this stage it is anticipated that training in 2017 will be Wednesdays from 4.45pm – 6.00pm. Always keep an eye on this website if there are holidays (or extreme weather) to see whether training is cancelled.

What do I WEAR to training?

During pre-season training it is often very warm, so warm suitable clothing and bring a FULL drink bottle. As the evenings get colder, wear ‘layered’ clothing. This will keep you warm when you are inactive and allows you to remove layers when doing skill drills. Be sure to name all garments so your property does not go missing.

What do I have to BRING with me?

At the beginning of the season, umpires will be provided with online links to the Laws of Australian Rules Football, the By-Laws of the SMJFL, as well as an Umpires Handbook. Umpires should be familiar with all these resources. If required we will inform umpires to bring any paperwork or a smartphone/tablet to training. Generally, just bring a whistle and appropriate footwear.

** Bring a drink bottle **

How often do I need to ATTEND training?

Training is held weekly and we encourage umpires to attend this session. Preference for appointments will be given to those umpires who attend and actively contribute to training.

What can I EXPECT from a training session?

Training sessions mainly include knowledge and skills components.

Given the vast majority of umpires in our league are young people, it is assumed that they have a base level of fitness; therefore, fitness is secondary to developing the umpire’s knowledge of the laws, where to position themselves, developing confidence to enforce the rules, and their ability apply them on game day.

Who will be COACHING me?

Our Umpire Coaches all have significant umpiring experience and have been provided with the coaching skills to enable them to develop the umpires in their charge.

How much will training COST?

Umpire coaching/training sessions are free of charge to all umpires registered to officiate in the SMJFL. This along with the fact you will be paid to officiate games makes umpiring possibly the best value sport there is!

What happens if it is RAINING?

Training will still be still on! If it is too wet to be outdoors, training will be held undercover / in the club rooms. If the weather is extreme (heat/cold/rain), keep an eye on the website and your emails and we will advise if training has been cancelled.

Uniform – What COLOUR uniform (shirt and socks) do I wear?

From 2017 we expect all of our umpires to be wearing our new uniform supplied by BLK. This consists of a green shirt, grey shorts and green socks. We allowed umpires to continue wearing their old uniform for 2016 while we swapped over, but now everyone needs to be in the new gear. A first time field umpire need only umpire 2 games to cover the cost of required uniform items – parents are encouraged to make sure that young umpires actually PAY for their uniform to give them experience at earning and paying bills!

Umpires in their first year will have the option of wearing a bib over their uniform, indicating that they are trainees.

How do I get the UNIFORM and how much can I expect it to cost?

Green Shirt: $40.00
Grey Shorts: $25.00 ($15 for black, but must swap to grey by 2018)
Green Socks: $12.00
Whistle: $10.00
Sweat Bands (wrist): $8.00
Optional extras include a jacket (to be ordered early in the season) and sports kit bag (limited stock).
Uniform may be ordered online at the commencement of, and during, the season – via the Forms & Documents menu.

How do I pay?

Payment for uniform is required to be made online (via Paypal) at time of order.
Where & When will I be umpiring?

All umpiring within the SMJFL is on a Sunday. There may be an odd occasion where a Friday night match is available, as a few clubs are experimenting with this as a fixturing option.

WHERE and WHEN you will be umpiring depends on a number of factors –

WHEN depends on the availability you set yourself. Schedula is our fixturing program, and all umpires need to ensure they update the times they are available on a weekly basis.

Beginner umpires will be allocated to the younger age groups at first (U11 and U12) until they gain enough skill, fitness and confidence to progress to older ages. You are likely to begin umpiring from the 1st game of the season as long as you are confident enough and mark yourself as available in Schedula.

Developmental: You may be appointed to a game for developmental purposes – eg. at a ground where you will be mentored or where your skills are required to develop a fellow umpire;

Requests: Boundary umpires have the opportunity to request appointments at particular venues/times. Field umpires can request to be assigned to a ground in a certain region.

Accreditation assessment: During the accreditation process umpires will be required to umpire designated games to meet assessment requirements;

Special needs: Sometimes particular games are identified as requiring umpires with a specific skill set. In these instances we will endeavour to “best fit” the game with the umpire/s.

What paperwork is involved?

All field umpires are expected to download the Match Day Paperwork app onto their smartphone or tablet, and enter the games “Competition Match Report” or CMR online by the end of the weekend of matches. This form is submitted by one umpire only per match (umpires to agree on who does it), and includes the entry of participating umpires, Best and Fairest votes and behaviour ratings for that game. For this reason, it is VITAL that this is correctly filled out after every match. Umpires will not be paid unless this requirement is fulfilled. Any paperwork not submitted in time will be followed up by our office during the week. It is recommended that all paperwork is stored safely after online entry until the end of the season just in case of a computer glitch which may mean we ask for information to be resubmitted.

I understand there is a MENTORING Program for umpires. When can I expect to be mentored?

Each season the SMJFL has approximately 150 first year umpires and the Umpiring Department understands the importance of mentoring our fledgling talent (as well as our more experienced umpires to ensure ongoing development). Each week, based on observation/feedback at training and from club feedback, mentors will be allocated based on need. Please keep in mind that our supply of mentors is significantly less than the demand for mentoring. We will do our very best to provide each new umpire with the opportunity to be mentored at least once during the season. If you have a special request for mentoring, please feel free to approach your coach to discuss.

WHO will mentor me?

The SMJFL Umpiring Department have a team of mentors who have a varying level of experience in the SMJFL, the Southern Football Netball League, the Victorian Amateur Football Association or other levels of football. All mentors have completed the AFL Assessor (or equivalent) Program.

HOW is mentoring conducted?

Mentoring is generally conducted with a suitably qualified person “shadowing” an umpire on the field during a game. The amount of ‘co-umpiring’ varies depending on the experience and competence of the umpire being mentored.

Game allocation HOW do I find out when and where I will be umpiring?

Umpires receive notification of Sunday’s appointment/s via an online system called Schedula. Appointments are released on the Wednesday morning prior to each weekend’s round of games. Each umpire must accept their appointment by Thursday evening, or expect that it will be allocated to another umpire.

Umpires are expected to accept any game allocated to them. Refusal of an appointment when you have marked yourself as available for that time will jeopardise your chances of being allocated to a game the following week.

Further details will be provided to umpires at pre-season training.

It is ESSENTIAL that umpires declare themselves as “available” or “unavailable” each week in Schedula. Failure to do so will result in you not being allocated a game (or being allocated a game when you can’t umpire on a given day).

Payment – How much do I EARN as an umpire?

Pay rates depend on the age of the competition you are officiating, and the type of umpiring you are undertaking. As you would expect, more experienced umpires, officiating at older age games are paid more than less experienced umpires – which, in itself, provides umpires with the incentive to develop and increase their skill set.
Pay rates for field umpires start at $44 per game for an Under 11 to Under 13 game gradually rising to $80 for Under 17s. Boundary umpires begin at $30 for an Under 14 game up to $40 per game for an Under 17 match.

When and how am I paid?

Umpire payments are made directly into an umpire’s bank account once a month and are only made once the umpire fulfils all their report duties post-match (filling out an online form).

Do I need a Tax File Number (TFN)?

No. There is no tax deducted from your pay. As umpiring is classed as a “sport/hobby” by the ATO there is no need to declare income from umpiring on a tax return.

What do I do if I am INCORRECTLY PAID?

We encourage umpires to check their pay statements. If there is a discrepancy, we have an online form for you to complete and we will look into it for you.