Umpires are integral to a netball game. All netball umpires and their officiating colleagues are there to enforce the rules and regulations implemented by the International Netball Federation. Together, they somewhat function like a third team inside the court. Without them, the game of netball won’t be the fast-flowing sport that it is known to be.

Umpires will always have their place in netball, not only in the international and professional arenas, but in the social and local club level as well. This is well-stated in the netball game rulebook. You can read about the umpire’s role and responsibilities as well as the correct umpiring terms in section seven.

If you’re a netball aficionado, you know that 2016 is a period of note in netball history. All those involved in the game have had to familiarise themselves with some pretty major modifications to the rules of the sport. The new rules have certainly included changes for the netball umpires as well.

One of the most obvious differences noticed during games is the less frequent blast of the umpires’ whistles. These days, they’re definitely getting far less action now that there’s no longer need to signal goals scored or balls gone off-court. This means a much quieter game than what we’re used to. Nonetheless, you can still count on the umpire’s whistle to indicate the start and end of a quarter.

Another major change that directly affects umpires is their management of injury time. They have to be stricter these days, only allowing players 30 seconds when they observe bleeding or when there’s blood anywhere on the court. While the play is stopped, the rules regarding stoppages still apply. This means that before a player is allowed back in court:

  • The flow of blood would have stopped.
  • Any wound would have been cleaned and covered.
  • Blood-stained clothing would have been adequately cleaned or changed.
  • Also, any blood on the ball and court would have been cleaned before play is allowed to restart.

Something that will make for better organised and fairer games, another modification states that umpires are now also able to keep players in line with a clearer grading system so that cautions and warnings may be issued before suspension is fully merited.

Besides these, umpires and players alike are now to call penalties or free passes “sanctions.” Everybody will have to remember to use the new term to avoid confusion.

All these new rules are now being observed by the umpires in Melbourne Social Netball games. If you want to see them in action, you can likely catch a match at the netball courts of the Riverside Golf and Tennis Centre.

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