Umpires make call for help

The South East Football Umpires League has signalled for help from the community as it heads into the 2021 Western Border football season with minimal numbers and no head coordinator. With just over a month before first bounce, it appears there will not be enough green shirts to officiate the usual grades on a Saturday.

SEFUL secretary Angela Devlin said numbers across all three disciplines were at an all-time low. “Numbers are not where they have been over the last three years and we are very short,” she said. “We have 84 appointments a week to cover, but at the moment we are way behind. “As long as I have been in the umpiring fraternity it is the lowest anyone has ever seen them.”

Devlin believes the long-term effects of COVID-19 may have fast tracked the reduction of local umpires. “COVID has possibly had an impact,” she said. “Umpires who have retired have also left a major hole because we need senior figures.” The lack of umpiring depth is a huge concern for Limestone Coast football with not enough trained and committed decision makers calling the shots.

Instead, clubs will be forced to supply more volunteers to ensure all games and grades can be played. However, the SEFUL is not only searching for new recruits, but also on the hunt for a leader. The paid position of the umpires’ head coordinator is currently vacant and the SEFUL hopes someone will fill the void soon.

The job is highly regarded within the local football industry and requires providing guidance on training and game days plus administration work. Devlin said they were looking for someone with a special passion for the sport to take the step up. “It requires great leadership skills on and off the field,” she said.

“They are going to help all of the umpires plus coordinate which games they do, scheduling where they go, education and fitness. “Hopefully a few will apply for the role because it is pivotal we get that person.”

Football followers interested in donning the green shirt can reap a number of benefits including increased fitness, leadership and teamwork skills and regular payments, whilst enjoying the action from the best seat in the house.

Applications for the head coordinator role close on Wednesday, March 10. Contact to express interest in becoming part of the SEFUL.

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