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The very, very contentious 50 for Dissent Rule


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2 minutes ago, monoccular said:

Sure I think we all agree when players confront an umpire verbally or in an intimidating manner and dispute their decision a penalty is appropriate but asking a question or holding one’s arms out????

Interestingly we are having the same discussion now as when the AFL first started to crack down on the abuse of umpires in matches. They started paying 50m penalties for it more often and everybody lost their minds about it (for mostly similar reasons as are being given now). 

It's interesting that we are all now very comfortable that this behaviour is unacceptable some 20 years later. 

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It's a difficult issue. I grew up in what many would call an 'umpire abusive' household. "White maggot" was thrown around a lot and we were more or less taught that abusing all of the umpire, the opposition and even our own players at the footy (within reason) was ok. This was always at odds to how we were taught to treat people in other settings. It is odd now I think about it and it's not Ok. 

We need to avoid the game becoming like Soccer is globally. Players surround the referee, intimidate them, mouth of at them and gesticulate in all directions. I'm a mad soccer man and I hate it. So I support any measures designed to address the issue of umpire respect. 

That said, respect for respects sake isnt the way. It can't be token or forced. The media, the public, and just about everyone is readily abusive of players, politicians, administrators, and other people in high profile professions. It's part and parcel of accountability and how we as a collective shape behaviours and demand improvement. 

If the AFL cares as much as they say, make the umpires professionals. Pay them a salary and a game bonus and make it attractive relative to the scrutiny and pressure. Train them, promote them, drop them and raise the standards of umpiring, because they are poor and it is clear to all. They have a huge impact on the product, the results, the health and safety of players and the fortunes of an industry of people working towards life long goals. It's an enormously important and underappreciated role. 

I appreciate there are 8 games a week and what, 8-10 umpires per game? So its perhaps a staff of 50 all up. $10m p.a. at $200k each. AFLx cost more than that surely? 

They can't demand respect when the standards are so poor. They can't have it both ways.

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3 minutes ago, Axis of Bob said:

 What do you believe would "eliminate the air of enmity that exists around the supporters and the umpires"?

Umpire to the rules would be a start.
Call a throw a throw, a push a push, don't get sucked in by dives etc. etc.

I'd be surprised if 10 people in the crowd noticed Mitchell raise his arm while talking to the the umpire in the middle of the ground.
If that was a close final that umpire would near get lynched by the mob. 
Nice work AFL.

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8 minutes ago, Axis of Bob said:

You said that it wasn't needed to achieve the aim. I was hoping for clarification on that aim, since you believed the changes wouldn't achieve it.

What do you believe would "eliminate the air of enmity that exists around the supporters and the umpires"?

Consistent good umpiring. Playing your role well demands respect. There’s no other path to it. 

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3 minutes ago, fr_ap said:

It's a difficult issue. I grew up in what many would call an 'umpire abusive' household. "White maggot" was thrown around a lot and we were more or less taught that abusing all of the umpire, the opposition and even our own players at the footy (within reason) was ok. This was always at odds to how we were taught to treat people in other settings. It is odd now I think about it and it's not Ok. 

We need to avoid the game becoming like Soccer is globally. Players surround the referee, intimidate them, mouth of at them and gesticulate in all directions. I'm a mad soccer man and I hate it. So I support any measures designed to address the issue of umpire respect. 

That said, respect for respects sake isnt the way. It can't be token or forced. The media, the public, and just about everyone is readily abusive of players, politicians, administrators, and other people in high profile professions. It's part and parcel of accountability and how we as a collective shape behaviours and demand improvement. 

If the AFL cares as much as they say, make the umpires professionals. Pay them a salary and a game bonus and make it attractive relative to the scrutiny and pressure. Train them, promote them, drop them and raise the standards of umpiring, because they are poor and it is clear to all. They have a huge impact on the product, the results, the health and safety of players and the fortunes of an industry of people working towards life long goals. It's an enormously important and underappreciated role. 

I appreciate there are 8 games a week and what, 8-10 umpires per game? So its perhaps a staff of 50 all up. $10m p.a. at $200k each. AFLx cost more than that surely? 

They can't demand respect when the standards are so poor. They can't have it both ways.

I am also a huge soccer guy, played it for 20 years. I know sometimes the players can surround the ref. But how would you rate respect of officiating between the codes?

AFL mandates [censored] like this like the players are in primary school. Soccer has imo generally increased respect by allowing discussion and even Respectful physical contact between players and officiators. 

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On 4/17/2022 at 5:13 PM, La Dee-vina Comedia said:

Shout out to cricket which allows illegal bowling actions to be called legal if the player who throws happens to be good at it.

And the player comes from a continent that generates 80% of global revenue....

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Just now, Chook said:

Consistent good umpiring. Playing your role well demands respect. There’s no other path to it. 

So the only way to create respect for umpires is to create perfect umpires that don't make mistakes? 

Where are these perfect umpires coming from? Because there aren't many umpires coming through the ranks.

Stunningly it turns out that teenagers don't enjoy being abused and belittled in games when they are learning how to be umpires.

How do you intend to encourage more people to take up umpiring in lower levels?

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6 minutes ago, DubDee said:

I am also a huge soccer guy, played it for 20 years. I know sometimes the players can surround the ref. But how would you rate respect of officiating between the codes?

AFL mandates [censored] like this like the players are in primary school. Soccer has imo generally increased respect by allowing discussion and even Respectful physical contact between players and officiators. 

Soccer is a shocking example.
Rugby is better.

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Just now, Axis of Bob said:

So the only way to create respect for umpires is to create perfect umpires that don't make mistakes? 

Where are these perfect umpires coming from? Because there aren't many umpires coming through the ranks.

Stunningly it turns out that teenagers don't enjoy being abused and belittled in games when they are learning how to be umpires.

How do you intend to encourage more people to take up umpiring in lower levels?

Pay them. You want people to do a thing, pay them. You want people to be respected, train them well enough to do a good job. By doing a good job they will draw praise, and that will be the key to changing the culture, and drawing volunteers even. 

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1 hour ago, Axis of Bob said:

The players will learn to quickly accept the decision and move on. 

That will accomplish the demonstration to the public that players should accept the decision of umpires.

Kids who grow up knowing that complaining about umpiring is destructive (rather than 'passionate' or 'not robotic') will treat umpires differently than their parents and grandparents did/do. They'll think that complaining about umpires is something that old people people do because they 'don't get it'.

The change will take time but it has to start somewhere. 

Fine but the same goes the other way. I’ve heard plenty of umpires be just as condescending to players. Why is it ok for an umpire to explain for 45 seconds why he paid a free and if the player says “but” it’s a free kick? 

Perhaps if the umpires were not given such a difficult set of grey rules to adjudicate each week there would be a lot less for players to question. 
If the umpires lack basic consistency from game to game and week to week, why would a player not question something so he knows what not to do next time? Because truly in each and every game the rules are judged differently and it can absolutely change the outcome of matches. 
 

It’s not about the odd mistake. Umpires are humans and they’ll make mistakes. It’s about the lack of consistency and transparency. Last week arms out is not a 50. This week it is. Next week it’s a sneeze will do it. The week after I can scream at an umpire. 

Edited by Jaded No More
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1 minute ago, DubDee said:

I am also a huge soccer guy, played it for 20 years. I know sometimes the players can surround the ref. But how would you rate respect of officiating between the codes?

AFL mandates [censored] like this like the players are in primary school. Soccer has imo generally increased respect by allowing discussion and even Respectful physical contact between players and officiators. 

It's an interesting dynamic in soccer exacerbated by the global nature - cultures that are much more overtly 'passionate' than ours can I think make it look worse than it perhaps is (to your point). Even so, the imagery of it is poor.

I too played at lower levels for a long time and think at the lower levels it's actually generally OK save for some very rough neighbourhoods where respect generally is not a term well understood, towards umpires, neighbours spectators or anyone really ...

But at the top level in soccer there is a very clear disdain for the refs from players in my view. The ridiculous pay gap between players and refs encourages (maybe validates) this. This then manifests throughout the crowds, pubs, adults and children as disrespect. But tbh, it's a minor issue compared to the other correlations soccer has with things like domestic violence. The game's so popular and so idolised that they've got no shortage of refs coming through. 

I don't think AFL players have that disdain for umpires but I think the standards are worse, and they therefore generally are expressing frustration stemming from confusion. The hands out 50 just makes this even worse.

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12 minutes ago, Axis of Bob said:

So the only way to create respect for umpires is to create perfect umpires that don't make mistakes? 

Where are these perfect umpires coming from? Because there aren't many umpires coming through the ranks.

Stunningly it turns out that teenagers don't enjoy being abused and belittled in games when they are learning how to be umpires.

How do you intend to encourage more people to take up umpiring in lower levels?

Bit of hyperbole there Bob. People are asking for a bit of consistency, not the “perfect umpire”. The penalising of a player who simply throws their arms up or out (without verbal abuse or swearing) is only going to make the abuse from supporters (at AFL games down to grassroots) even worse. It’s common sense (which may be the reason why some don’t get it now that I think about it…). 

Edited by Ethan Tremblay
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3 minutes ago, Chook said:

Pay them. You want people to do a thing, pay them. You want people to be respected, train them well enough to do a good job. By doing a good job they will draw praise, and that will be the key to changing the culture, and drawing volunteers even. 

And junior umpires? Those that are struggling and developing their skills, sometimes making mistakes, or even just correct decisions that players disagree with?

How do we deal with the respect for junior umpires (and those at lower levels that are clearly worse than AFL umpires) when you say that the only way we can achieve this is by these umpires simply being good umpires?

I am heavily involved with lower level football and umpire respect is a massive issue. Without them we don't have a game ..... and we have far fewer nowadays than we have had in the past.

How do we fix the issue of umpire numbers and the attractiveness of umpiring at all levels of football?

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2 minutes ago, Axis of Bob said:

And junior umpires? Those that are struggling and developing their skills, sometimes making mistakes, or even just correct decisions that players disagree with?

How do we deal with the respect for junior umpires (and those at lower levels that are clearly worse than AFL umpires) when you say that the only way we can achieve this is by these umpires simply being good umpires?

I am heavily involved with lower level football and umpire respect is a massive issue. Without them we don't have a game ..... and we have far fewer nowadays than we have had in the past.

How do we fix the issue of umpire numbers and the attractiveness of umpiring at all levels of football?

If AFL umpires are having trouble with interpreting the rules and enforcing them (80 missed “raised or outward arms” in round 5), what does that mean for the juniors? The problem starts with the AFL, not the players or the supporters. It’s similar to policing, the commissioner and politicians come up with some stupid ideas for the police on the ground to enforce, the ones who enforce the rules/law are the ones who cop the abuse. Don’t make stupid/complicated rules, and people won’t complain (well, they’re people so they probably still will to some degree). 

Edited by Ethan Tremblay
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Bit of conflating of issues going on here.

Umpires 100% should be fully paid, full time employees of the AFL. It's utterly bizarre a billion dollar industry has part time employees, picked from a dwindling talent pool, in positions of such importance to the game. This would obviously improve the standard of umpiring, there's no argument there.

But...

No matter the standard of umpiring, there should be more respect towards them. It's completely stupid to imply 'well they wouldn't get abused if they got more calls right'. There is no excuse, let alone such a flimsy one. Plus, doesn't matter how much you offer to pay them; coping abuse every week from thousands of people (let alone what they must get on social media etc) will mean they won't stay around long; and less and less people will choose it as a profession.

Edited by Lord Nev
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The key issue is why are 90% (guesstimate, but would appear to be some large majority) of what AFL insists is breach of umpire dissent rules not being penalised just 5 rounds into season?

"Slippage" (reported by Jon Ralph) can't account for that big an error, it must be that the rule simply doesn't make sense to the umpires, (who are supposedly receiving the dissent)

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6 minutes ago, Graeme Yeats' Mullet said:

The key issue is why are 90% (guesstimate, but would appear to be some large majority) of what AFL insists is breach of umpire dissent rules not being penalised just 5 rounds into season?

"Slippage" (reported by Jon Ralph) can't account for that big an error, it must be that the rule simply doesn't make sense to the umpires, (who are supposedly receiving the dissent)

I’d suggest it’s because the majority of the umpires realise that a 50 for raising your arms is ridiculous. The kids umpiring at the junior level are going to cop it even worse for enforcing this one. Players are always going to be raising their arms, even when simply asking “what for?” I’ve most definitely said enough about the absurdity of this rule so I’ll leave it there. 

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9 minutes ago, Axis of Bob said:

And junior umpires? Those that are struggling and developing their skills, sometimes making mistakes, or even just correct decisions that players disagree with?

How do we deal with the respect for junior umpires (and those at lower levels that are clearly worse than AFL umpires) when you say that the only way we can achieve this is by these umpires simply being good umpires?

I am heavily involved with lower level football and umpire respect is a massive issue. Without them we don't have a game ..... and we have far fewer nowadays than we have had in the past.

How do we fix the issue of umpire numbers and the attractiveness of umpiring at all levels of football?

Surely you can see that giving them unfettered power to make plainly ridiculous, finicky, pathetic decisions makes this worse, not better? 

Here's how you build respect: you market AFL umpiring as a full time job. A specialist, important, valued role complete with an attractive package that is worth the scrutiny. You improve the standards. You acknowledge that it is a job that will by definition not please half the spectators that are watching. You acknowledge that is OK and you build resilience towards that dynamic at the top level. You develop an academy with young umpires who you teach these same values. You teach them that sport is a highly physical and emotional endeavour that pushes humans to their limits, and that people can at times step over the line. With this in mind you set the tolerance level for this at reasonable limits, acknowledging that the physical and emotional endeavour is a key reason you have a job running a spectator sport in the first place. 

Better yet, you acknowledge that the only reason anyone wants to umpire is because they love the sport. So at all times, your guiding principle is that the more you improve the game, the more fans and in turn umpires you attract. 

That is the long road, and as usual the AFL will take the short road.

Muzzling the players is simply not the answer, and it won't stick at local level nor make one iota of tangible difference at a societal level. 

Ultimately it is not the AFLs job to teach people to respect one another, and if they try they will fail. Their product is just one example in a spectrum of actors, screenwriters, politicians, writers, business people that people and children are watching and emulating whilst being moulded by their parents, teachers and friends. To suggest AFL is anything more than a very small input into this gamut of influences is wrong and stinks of the AFL execs misunderstanding their place focusing on all the wrong things, no doubt led by their lawyers and the PR machine. 

Their job is to protect the longevity of the game. Simplifying the rules and training people to apply those mostly correctly would do this.

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52 minutes ago, Jaded No More said:

Fine but the same goes the other way. I’ve heard plenty of umpires be just as condescending to players. Why is it ok for an umpire to explain for 45 seconds why he paid a free and if the player says “but” it’s a free kick? 
 

It’s getting to a stage where players aren’t even able to communicate with umpires. If that’s the case, as it appears to be at the AFL’s discretion, umpires should not be able to talk to players’ then either.

Respect needs to go both ways, but what HQ is trying to achieve is not respect, it’s authoritarianism. Dangerous game they’re planning.

Edited by Demon Disciple
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3 minutes ago, fr_ap said:

Here's how you build respect: you market AFL umpiring as a full time job. A specialist, important, valued role complete with an attractive package that is worth the scrutiny. You improve the standards.

Why is it an either/or?

Why not do both? 

Why not improve umpiring as a profession whilst also reducing the level of disrespect shown towards umpires?

 

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54 minutes ago, Axis of Bob said:

And junior umpires? Those that are struggling and developing their skills, sometimes making mistakes, or even just correct decisions that players disagree with?

How do we deal with the respect for junior umpires (and those at lower levels that are clearly worse than AFL umpires) when you say that the only way we can achieve this is by these umpires simply being good umpires?

I am heavily involved with lower level football and umpire respect is a massive issue. Without them we don't have a game ..... and we have far fewer nowadays than we have had in the past.

How do we fix the issue of umpire numbers and the attractiveness of umpiring at all levels of football?

You start with education at junior & club level. You educate parents. You make it clear to junior coaches that they are not just coaching to win & coaching skills but coaching football from a broader perspective. You make respect for umpires a key part of any coach accreditation.

I've been involved in playing, coaching, administering and spectating a range of sports, not just footy, for more decades than I care to admit to. With precious few exceptions, the issue of umpire abuse comes from outside the field of play. Mainly parents.

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