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…and Umpire Australian Football in Europe!

Within this page you will find information about our Development Programmes, a range of Coaching Materials and What’s Your Decision videos, Articles about umpiring in our community and our Contact details.


But first, a little about umpiring our great game here in Europe…

The standard of Australian Football played in Europe is at an all-time high. As playing standards have increased, there has never been a greater need for member leagues to nurture, develop and retain dedicated “homegrown” Field, Boundary and Goal Umpires. Better local umpires will ensure playing standards continue to improve.

AFL Europe is interested to hear from anyone wanting to take up umpiring. We provide a developmental pathway for umpires.

Our pathway enables new umpires to gain a fundamental understanding of the Laws of the game and to develop to the level of their desire and aptitude. Our aim is to ensure umpires enjoy their role in the game. Ideally, we would love to develop elite-level umpires right here in Europe, but we think that it is as important to help all umpires – first gamers, developing and experienced – reach their potential.

Any umpire who wants a better understanding of the game should attend one of our workshops. Development is driven by the individual with support from their coach. Umpires who demonstrate the required competency are awarded the relevant qualification.

No previous knowledge or understanding of the game is required to start umpiring. Many of our current umpires come from other sports, had previously played or just saw the game in passing one day. All we expect is a willingness to learn from other local umpires. An ability to accept and develop from constructive criticism and a commitment to maintaining a basic level of fitness are part of the pathway to success.

AFL Europe’s umpiring department works closely with the umpiring departments of all our member leagues.

Our local teams of umpires can approach their umpires’ coordinator or advocate about any umpiring question. Our team of coordinators and advocates work with the Umpires Development Manager for AFL Europe. In this way, local clubs can be sure that the third team – the local team of umpires – are developing in a structured manner.


Member leagues are expected to foster a positive and respectful environment for umpiring.

Our umpires are respectful of players, coaches, other umpires and supporters in a match situation. We earn respect by applying our knowledge to the best of our ability and by interacting constructively with those around us. The best umpires are able to educate new and experienced players in the Laws of the game, with patience, composure, decisiveness and empathy.

Players and umpires alike make mistakes and learn from each other where relevant, in the spirit of true fraternity. Our umpires understand that in availing themselves of the ongoing learning opportunities we provide, they can learn coping strategies by which their knowledge of the laws is improved, and that their concentration and consistency become more pronounced.

Whether as a player, umpire, coach or supporter of our great game, increasing the standard of and respect for umpiring is everybody’s business!

With our organisation maturing and member leagues developing the internal resources required, minimum selection criteria for umpires at our marquee events now exist. At tournaments run by AFL Europe, umpires must have attained their Level 1 (or equivalent) accreditation to be selected, unless exceptional circumstances arise. Member leagues may request guidance for umpiring standards within their league.

A number of resources are provided on this page and on our Laws page. Have a read through to see if umpiring is for you!

If you would like to find out more about becoming an umpire, or you wish to express interest in hosting a workshop, please contact AFL Europe via email. Full contact details and forums are provided below.


Jump to: Coaching Materials, What’s Your DecisionArticles or Contact.



Our Umpiring department runs a range of programmes at times and in locations suitable to our member leagues. See our calendar for the dates of upcoming events. Registration is via Eventbrite – details in the contact section.

All of our programmes are conducted in a safe learning environment and include:

Umpiring Workshops

In this programme, we visit a member league to provide hands-on support to local umpires.

We cover theory and put our learning into practice, with feedback given on the day. Any member league can request a workshop, which can run between April and September inclusive. We ask for a six weeks notice to allow for the logistics to be arranged.

Currently, AFL Europe run two types of umpiring workshop: Level 0 and Level 1.

At Level 0, umpires, coaches and players are all invited to join in a “conversation about football.” We discuss the spirit of the Laws and particularly the holding the ball flowchart. We cover briefly safety considerations and provide an introduction to positioning. Umpires are observed in match conditions and feedback provided.

At Level 1, the core concepts of umpiring are further developed. This course is designed for interested and able umpires, and their coaches. A heightened understanding of contest for the ball, tackling and marking free kicks is expected. The importance of proper physical and mental preparation is a focus, and nominees are expected to ably handle constructive criticism. Open discussion of self, match, environment and stakeholder management is encouraged, and it is desired that nominees share best practices with the group. The group is asked to help guide the Level 0 course where one is run at the same location on the same weekend.

We will convene Level 2 courses upon request, pending sufficient interest.

Those who take part in our umpiring workshops are recognised on merit. Our programme is recognised by the AFL Umpiring Department.

Previous workshops have been held in:

  • 2015 – Frankfurt (Level 0)
  • 2014 – Newcastle (Level 0, Level 1)
  • 2013 – Reading (Level 0), Graz (Level 0), Dublin (Level 1 – European Championships)
  • 2012 – Fulda (Level 0), Paris (Level 0), Galway (Level 0)
  • 2011 – Stockholm (Level 0), Milan (Level 0), Prague (Level 0), Belfast (Level 0 – Euro Cup)
  • 2010 – Copenhagen (Level 0 – European Championships), Milan (Level 0 – Euro Cup)

Umpiring Teleconferences

In this programme, we facilitate an open forum for umpires and their coaches to discuss the issues facing them and their team. Our hope is that by discussing the challenges we each face in our respective leagues, we are able to share potential solutions and ideas for the growth of umpiring locally.

In this year’s programme, we intend to cover the following topics. These “key pillars of umpiring” are underpinned by a core focus on fitness:

  1. Correct position
  2. Protect the ball player
  3. Pay the 1st Free Kick in every contest with strong communication
  4. Enjoy you role in the game
  5. Game sense: let the game flow if the players are playing a safe & fair brand of footy

The conversation is guided by regular attendances from European- and Australian-based umpires’ coaches. Materials presented in these forums are shared with all attendees.

Previous teleconferences have been held in:

  • 2015 – April, May, June, July
  • 2014 – March, May, June, July, September, October
  • 2013 – August

Umpiring Forums

We also run regular, more focused forums by email and other means. If you are not receiving these or if you have ideas to share via this medium, let either your umpiring coordinator or us know.

Match Preparation

Our newest programme, launched in 2015. Get a group of at least 20 umpires together from your league or adjacent leagues and get in contact to request further details!

Jump to: What’s Your Decision, Articles, Contact or head back to the Introduction.



Below are a selection of coaching resources.

These address the mental and physical aspects of umpiring. Umpires coaches are encouraged to review these when preparing their development plans for the season, and use them in helping their team of umpires prepare for matches, perform on match day and review their performance. These materials should be reviewed alongside the information available on our Laws page.

An umpire needs proper mental preparation to understand the laws and handle the emotional environment on game day.

First game and experienced umpires alike are encouraged to honestly self-assess their performance in each match, to enable further development. Physical preparation needs to include skills practice, building stamina and increasing agility. Avoiding fatigue on game day improves decision making.

Umpiring is like real estate: it’s all about position, position, POSITION!

We are able to provide umpires coaches with guidance for how to help further develop their team. We welcome suggestions for further resources.

Jump to: Development ProgrammesArticles, Contact or head back to the Introduction.



Whether watching the elite competition via the AFL Global Pass or our homegrown talent in our local leagues, there are often instances where as spectators, players or umpires, our views differ on a given decision by the umpire in control of the match. Be it Play On, Free Kick or Mark, our position and perspective have a big influence over the decision we make.

But what’s your decision?

In the forthcoming footage, we share with you some common examples from Community Football, and want to know what decision you would make. Remember, the umpires involved in these clips have a mere fraction of a second to come to their decision.

If you’re unsure about which decision you would make, check out our Laws page. Remember that the spirits of the laws firstly focus on protecting player safety, secondly on fairness and thirdly on keeping the game moving.

Want further information, or think you’ve got a particular decision spot on? Get in contact with us!

Keep an eye on this section as we upload more vision. We welcome video submissions from our umpiring community.

Jump to: Development ProgrammesCoaching Materials, Contact or head back to the Introduction.



From the offbeat to the informative, check out some of our scribing on our love of the game. Don’t hesitate to contribute if you have a story that you’d like to share. You can also browse our news archives for all stories about Australian Football in Europe.

Umpires truly have the best seat in the house!




2012 and earlier

  • Becoming an Umpire in Europe (first published on AFL Community Club)
  • Blue Moon… you saw me standing alone… (first published in the MPNFL Record, AFL Victoria)

If you have a story that you would like to share, get in contact with us! You’ll find lots more stories from community umpires like you on the AFL Community Club umpiring news archive and on the dedicated AFL umpiring portal.



Want to know more? Here’s how you can get in contact:

AFL Europe
Or email your local umpires coordinator/advocate.

Workshops, Teleconferences and other Events
Register on Eventbrite

“Like” AFL Europe Umpires

“Follow” @AusFootball or search #betterumpiresmeanbettergames and #thethirdteam

Jump to: Development ProgrammesCoaching Materials, What’s Your Decision or head back to the Introduction.


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