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Uniforms & Equipment

20170723I U15D1 CS v WD Boundary

The WRFL Umpires wear the uniform of the Australian Rules Football umpires.

As an umpire, you'll either be wearing a trainee umpire bib (for trainee umpires in their first or second years) or green (for all other umpires).

Trainee umpire bibs are provided to all new umpires at their academies by the WRFL. In addition, all first year umpires will receive the basic components of their uniform at no charge. This includes a shirt, shorts, socks and a whistle. These uniforms are free and umpires do not necessarily need to provide anything else to get started (besides shoes).

Green uniforms for subsequent year umpires can be purchased at your chosen training venue. The payment can either be made on the spot or you can have it deducted from your pay.

What You Need

The components of a uniform vary depending on the type of umpire you are. Assuming you're a field umpire, you'll require the following:

  • Green shirt
  • Grey shorts
  • Green/grey socks
  • Whistle (Acme Thunderer)
  • Runners (preferably white)
  • Boots (preferably white)
  • Wristbands (white)
  • Pen
  • Notepad / card to write on
  • Yellow and red cards

Boundary umpires' equipment is similar to this but goal umpires will need a different set of equipment, so if you're interested please come down and have a chat and we can tell you about it.

Whistles

The whistle blast of an Australia Rules Football umpire is distinctive and has a particular sound. It is very different to the sound of a rugby, soccer or other whistle. As a result, it's important you always have the correct whistle. The Acme Thunderer (available where you purchase your uniform or alternatively at sports shops such as Rebel Sport) is the official whistle used in all Australian football matches and it is the only one that has the distinctive sound that we all associate with footy.

First year umpires are provided a whistle as part of their start up package, however for a career in umpiring it's recommended you have a spare whistle (and carry it tucked in your shorts while umpiring) just in case your primary whistle fails.

Wristbands

An umpire wears a wristband for two reasons: one, to wipe sweat off the brow; two, to distinguish the raised arm of the umpire to the timekeepers (so that the timekeeper can see it is an umpire and not a player raising their arm). Wristbands only need to be white and can be purchased from your selected training venue or alternatively they can most easily be found in the "tennis" section at sports stores (such as Rebel Sport).

At a minimum you only need one wristband; however, most people wear two.

Runners

Umpiring football involves lots of running, so making sure you have good footwear is important. The average field umpire can clock up 10 to 15km per senior match and boundary umpires up to 20km. It's important that you purchase good quality footwear and look after it. Importantly though, make sure your chosen footwear is predominantly white and avoid fluoro or dark colours.

Asics, Brooks, Mizuno, Nike and Adidas are among the most common runners worn by umpires.

Boots

All umpires are expected to have a pair of white (or predominantly white) football boots. Boots should be worn when wearing runners is not feasible given the conditions. In effect, if you are likely to slip while changing directions running quite quickly, then you should be wearing boots.

Boots do not necessarily need to be designed for AFL - they can be soccer boots, so long as they are predominantly white, comfortable and have decent stocks. "Blade" shaped stocks under the ball of the foot such as those on Blades or Asics boots can often help with changes of direction and may be more suitable to umpiring. Whatever your choice, ensure they are comfortable as your primary focus as an umpire is on running and changing direction, not kicking the ball.

Appearance

An umpire is expected to be professional and well presented at all times. This includes both arriving and departing at the ground, as well as out on the field.

Uniforms, including boots and runners, are expected to be cleaned (and clothes ironed) for each match. Umpires are expected to be well presented when arriving and leaving match venues, preferably wearing slacks and black shoes with a WRFL Umpires polo shirt.

Costs

The costs of uniform items (and WRFLUA apparel) are listed below. Remember, not all of this is compulsory. At a minimum, only a shirt, shorts, socks, a whistle and wristbands are required for field and boundary umpires. For goal umpires, please contact us.

For those who wish to umpire senior football we recommend purchasing a polo shirt to wear with black slacks and shoes, as this is a professional and "standard" way for umpires to dress when arriving at and departing from games.

Uniform & EquipmentApparel
ItemCostItemCost
Shirt $50 Polo shirt $30
Shorts $20 Tracksuit top $50
Socks $10 Track pants $30
Wrist Bands $6 Hoodie $30
Goal umpires cap $20 Sports bag $25
Goal umpires coat $30
Whistle (Acme Thunderer) $20

The cost of uniforms can be paid in cash or deducted from your pay.

Other Items

As an umpire, you'll need some other equipment and clothes with you on match day. You'll find out about this in due course but as a general rule you might consider (all optional):

  • Spare uniforms & socks
  • Spare whistles
  • Spare pens & paper (you'll notice we're big on having spares)
  • Clipboard (you've got a bit of paperwork to do)
  • Sports strapping tape (in case the worst happens and your ankle doesn't cooperate with you)
  • Singlets or other sports underwear
  • WRFL Umpires polo shirt (for arrival at venue, optional) 
  • WRFL Umpires Training Jacket (for arrival at venue and to keep you warm)
  • GPS watch (so you can brag about how hard you're running)

Piercings & jewellery

Just like players, the WRFL requires all umpires to remove piercings and jewellery prior to taking to the field. It's not enough to tape them up. We expect the players to do it, so we need to lead by example and do it too.

Skins

If you wish to wear compression garments ("skins") under your uniform while you umpire you may do so provided that they are:

  • either white or skin coloured; and,
  • not visible when you umpire

Skins are not part of an umpire's uniform and while players often wear them, as an umpire we ask that you please tuck them away under your shorts/sleeves. Appearing in a consistent uniform is a very important characteristic of umpiring as it enhances your professionalism.

You'll notice that while plenty of AFL players wear visible compression garments, AFL umpires do not!

Uniform Care

Football is a winter sport and football grounds are often muddy. As your mother will tell you: mud and light coloured clothes do not mix!

Uniforms which are discoloured or dirty need to be replaced as they do not uphold the professional appearance of the umpire, so it's in your interest to look after them to the best of your ability.

The best way to keep your uniform looking brand new is to take care of it. After a match, take it off and rinse the mud off straight away. Put it into the washing machine as soon as you get home and put it through a thorough cycle. Make sure you include some vigorous detergent stain remover (such as Napisan) if you have it but make sure you don't mix your uniform and the colours or you might find yourself running around in pink instead!

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