Since the introduction of a stricter interpretation umpires have been given clear guidelines on determining whether or not to award a deliberate out of bounds free kick. Former AFL field umpire Michael Vozzo takes us through these guidelines and what goes through his mind when awarding a free kick for deliberate out of bounds...
First of all, it is important to understand the aim of the stricter interpretation in relation to a deliberate out of bounds free kick. The reasoning behind the AFL Laws of the Game Committee introducing this stricter interpretation is that they want to keep the ball in motion to ensure a smooth, free-flowing game.
This reasoning therefore, helps us to understand why the stricter interpretation was introduced and also helps us to adjudicate on any particular deliberate out of bounds decision.
When determining whether or not to award a free kick for deliberate out of bounds, we have to read into what the player’s intentions are. The best way to do this is to consider the following criteria.
When you determine whether to award a deliberate out of bounds free kick, the major factor you need to consider is:
The secondary considerations to use in determining what the player’s intention is are:
If you take into consideration these indicators it makes our job a lot easier.
From our perspective, what we have to keep reminding ourselves, is that the AFL’s objective is to keep the ball in motion by keeping the ball in play for as long as possible. So, as far as I’m concerned, I think it’s important to keep thinking in the back of your head, ‘we want to keep the ball in motion’.
The final point you need to remember is to ensure that the right player gets the free kick. You really need to be aware of who the free kick goes to.
Michael Vozzo originally provided his thoughts on deliberate out of bounds for afl.com.au.