Take Note of These Updated Netball Umpiring Rules

Take Note of These Updated Netball Umpiring Rules

In August 2015, the International Netball Federation updated the official Rules of Netball. These changes were implemented in all Netball Australia-associated events and competitions from January 1, 2016.

If you’re currently playing netball or are planning to get into the sport, not as one of the seven team players on the court but as an umpire, then you must take note of the crucial rule changes or new rules regarding umpiring.

Here are examples of the updated netball umpiring rules:

Related to clothing, roles and terminology:

  • Match officials (including the umpire) must wear clothing that is distinct from the playing uniform worn by the team.
  • Umpires must work cooperatively. They can appeal to each other for decisions, so each umpire must be prepared for such an appeal at all times.
  • A reserve umpire has defined roles which include supervising suspended players.

Related to umpire hand signals:

  • The umpire’s whistle is no longer required to signal each successful goal. Now, the umpire makes the signal by holding one arm up in the air.
  • Some of the existing hand signals have been revised. These include the signals for Start of Play, Hold Time, Incorrect Entry (such as breaking and offside), and Contact.
  • Some new hand signals have also been introduced. These include: Throw in from Goal Line (this is for the attacking team), Goal Scored, Goal Not Scored, Intimidation, Incorrect Playing of the Ball, Official Warning, Suspension, and Ordering Off.
  • There is no longer any need to recreate the action. In the event of an infringement, umpires can only indicate this using the hand signals found within the Rule Book.
  • If there is a contact infringement, the umpire may add a short verbal description to correctly describe the nature of the contact. For example, the umpire may say “Contact-holding” or “Contact – on the ball.”


Related to match procedures:

  • An umpire who controls the centre pass will be responsible for penalising any infringements by the Centre taking the centre pass as well as any opponent who defends the centre in possession of the ball.
  • When a goal has been scored during play, the umpires will signal this by vertically raising one arm.
  • If it is clear that a ball is out of court, there is no need for a whistle from the umpire.
  • The umpire must ensure that players are positioned correctly before taking a Toss Up.

Related to sanctions:

  • Penalties are now referred to as sanctions.
  • The umpire may penalise an infringement by awarding two kinds of sanctions:
  • -A free pass is awarded for minor infringements, where these infringements occurred.
  • -A penalty pass is awarded for major infringements and is taken where the infringer is standing. Examples of major infringements are obstruction and contact.
  • When penalising an infringement, the umpire’s responsibilities remain the same: blowing the whistle, stating the infringement and the sanction given, and using hand signals to support this decision by indicating clearly where the sanction is to be taken.

Get ready to put these new and updated umpiring rules into play when you participate in netball competitions at any of Melbourne Social Netball’s notable venues (the Riverside Golf and Tennis Centre, Melbourne High School, Richmond Recreation Centre, Flagstaff Gardens, and Ryan’s Reserve).