Dear Players, Coaches, Spectators & Parents,
After an extremely difficult 2020 for so many, it is fantastic to have community sport return and it is wonderful to have all of our players, coaches, spectators, umpires and parents return to RDFNL venues for Junior and Senior football and netball.
Some Clubs have returned bigger and better than ever in 2021 after the year off, and some, have returned but struggled for players or volunteers to assist on and off the field.
Like many of our Clubs, across community football in Victoria, we have seen a considerable drop off in umpire numbers due to a number of factors.
The RDFNL is very fortunate to have the Riddell Umpires Association facilitate all Junior and Senior football matches each weekend. Unlike many other Leagues, the RDFNL has been able to field a full
complement of umpires in 2021.
That being said, some of the abhorrent abuse coming the way of umpires from players, coaches, parents, and spectators has been appalling and we as a League and all other community leagues are at a very important juncture.
If this ridiculous behaviour continues, football matches will not have umpires and our Clubs will have to find volunteers to fill the void.
The abuse of umpires needs to stop, immediately.
The League has also had an alarming number of incidents of extremely poor behaviour by coaches.
We understand how passionate our coaches are and we are ever so thankful for those coaches who put their hand up to volunteer their time to coach a team, whether it be football or netball, at Senior or Junior level.
It can be an all-consuming task and people are juggling that role with work and family life.
However, just because you have put your hand up to take on the role, it does not give you the right to abuse the position of power that you have.
Our coaches play a very crucial role as role models for their players.
Each year we have a number of players walk away from the game they love because of a poor experience the year before and a lot of that can be attributed to their coach.
95% of the coaches we have in our competitions do a wonderful job and we appreciate the job that they do but the other 5% who are creating an unsuitable environment, please rethink your coaching philosophy and remember why you put your hand up to help in the first place.
Finally, to our parents and spectators who come to our matches each weekend, please remember that we are not the AFL, the players do not play for AFL teams and our umpires are not officiating in the AFL.
Whilst it is great to have some fun and some banter, if you are coming to hurl abuse or carry on inappropriately, find somewhere else to go.
Good luck to everyone for the remainder of the RDFNL season, we are two-thirds of the way through the season and a wonderful Finals Series is awaiting us but let’s get the behaviour back on track so everyone can enjoy their community sport.