Hawthorn premiership defender Campbell Brown has called for AFL umpiring to become a full-time profession.
The debate as to whether umpires should become full-time has divided the AFL fraternity, with Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson throwing his support behind the idea due to the complexity of the game and the excessive number of rule changes.
“Everything else has gone professional in the game and it’s an area of the game that we’re probably lagging behind. So I feel like there’s a role for full-time umpires,” Clarkson said in April.
Brown agreed, described the standard of umpiring this season as “diabolical”, particularly the adjudication of the holding the ball ruling.
“We’ve got a billion-dollar industry and it’s the number one sport in the country,” Brown said on SEN’s The Sporting Capital.
“We need to get professional umpires. Get them full-time and spend more time training them because the umpiring this year has been diabolical.
“It’s gone backwards. Some of the interpretations on holding the ball and dropping the ball and what constitutes incorrect disposal is just poor. It frustrates fans.”
Australian Football Hall of Famer Terry Wallace, whose son Brent is an AFL umpire, thinks the idea of full-time umpires is an "absolute complete and utter waste of time".