AFL General Manager Football Operations Adrian Anderson and AFL Umpires Association Chief Executive Peter Howe today announced the AFL and the AFL Umpires Association had signed a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to cover all field, boundary and goal umpires through to the end of the 2016 season.
Mr Anderson said the AFL was delighted to have finalised its agreement with the game's officials and wanted to ensure that all AFL umpires had an outstanding career path to ensure their current high standards continued to be maintained into the future.
"AFL football is an incredibly demanding and complex game for our umpires and the AFL is privileged to be served by high-quality umpires in all facets of our sport," Mr Anderson said.
“Umpire recruitment and retention is a major challenge for our game and we hope that this agreement for umpires provides the platform for an appealing and supportive environment for any AFL umpire.
"The AFL and the AFL Umpires Association have reached an agreement that serves both parties very well and I wish to thank and congratulate Peter Howe and his team for their willingness to negotiate strongly for the advancement of our umpires and our game,' he said.
Mr Anderson said the AFL wanted to achieve an outcome that ensure the AFL would attract high-quality individuals that would complement the elite playing talent at AFL level and continue to produce high standards in each area across field, boundary and goal duties.
The agreement recognises seven per cent, five per cent, four per cent, three per cent and three per cent increases across the years 2012-2016 with funding to the Umpires Association of more than $330,000 per year to support its work around umpire welfare, development and promotion.
Mr Howe said the umpiring group was delighted the agreement had been settled.
"The Umpires' Association is pleased and excited that the AFL has commited to continue to discuss issues including Integrity, anti-gambling, a retirement scheme and full time umpires, that were raised durning the course of the negotiations.
"Both parties have agreed to introduce key integrity measures as part of the CBA to ensure that officiating standards were beyond reproach at all times.
"The AFL Umpires Association and the umpires are very pleased after a lengthy negotiation process the AFL has recognised the professionalism and integrity of all umpires within our group. We want to evolve with the game as it also becomes more professional," Mr Howe said.
AFL umpires remain highly scrutinised and have great accountability, Mr Anderson and Mr Howe said. All umpires commit more than 20 hours per week in training and coaching, around work commitments, with every decision in every match performance-assessed.
The full AFL officiating team includes more than 300 men and women based across Australia.