Umpiring numbers in the green, but more needed

More people are playing footy in Queensland than ever before, but everyone knows a footy game can’t be played without the umpires.

To tackle the issue head on, AFL Queensland has put the call out for retired footballers, ex-umpires, students or anyone wanting to get fit to consider picking up the whistle.

“Umpiring is open to anyone – it doesn’t matter about age, gender, or cultural background. Umpiring is for anyone that loves staying fit and healthy,” said Umpiring Development Manager Queensland, James Waldorff.

“School kids, community groups, people that are new to Queensland, ex-players that can’t play anymore – come and get involved.

“AFL Queensland Umpiring have distinct pathways for all participants who choose to officiate, with the Umpire 4 Fun program at club level, Youth and Senior Football opportunities.

“Further to this, AFL Queensland offer an outstanding High Performance Program producing talent in the AFL, AFLW, VFL, QAFL & QAFLW competitions.”


Some of our brightest stars in the umpiring ranks were on show at the Gabba last weekend, to mark Community Umpiring Week. Amy Furness, Willem Kennedy and Patrick Reilly led the AFL umpires onto the grounds and got a taste of an AFL match-day experience. Read more here 


In good news for team in the lime green, 2021 has so far seen a 16% increase in umpire numbers across the state.

482 new umpires join the ranks in Queensland this year, making up 42% of the overall list.

Waldorff said whilst it was important to celebrate the wins, there was a bigger, ongoing challenge that needed addressing.

 “Whilst recruitment is always a major focus, the biggest pressure point is that on average 510 umpires are lost per year,” he said.

“In 2019, a National Satisfaction Survey was conducted, with a 36% response rate from Queensland (the highest nation-wide), when asked for the biggest area for improvement, 27% stated spectator behaviour and 16% player behaviour.  

“It’s something we as a code need to work and the umpiring department along with the football operations department at AFL Queensland are committed to working with clubs across the state to create the best match day environment possible for all stakeholders.”

For more information about umpiring, visit

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