Umpires could be forced into some serious juggling of their working lives that could have a dramatic impact on their income if the AFL runs the competition in hubs for an extended period.
The AFL’s umpires are keen to support whatever plans the league has to get the season up and running. But dealing with the practicalities of leaving their work and families behind to officiate in games, particularly in the worst-case scenario that could see the competition inside hubs for 20 weeks, is not easy.
Umpires have full-time jobs; they count among their numbers teachers, engineers, accountants and barristers. Although they work for understanding employers, which gives them flexibility during a normal season, taking a big break in the middle of the season is a different matter and could affect their primary source of income.
The umpires’ association surveyed umpires last week to ascertain their ability to participate in hubs and will provide that information to the AFL to assist them in their planning.