Teenage umpires will need working-with-children checks under WA Football Commission guidelines
Teenagers as young as 13 will need working-with-children checks to umpire junior footy under new WA Football Commission guidelines.
A recent move to make junior footy umpires get these checks has baffled some clubs and parents, who say it is ridiculous children need to get approval to work with other kids.
The WAFC told clubs their umpires would need working-with-children certification checks from their second year of umpiring, meaning the regulations kick in from 13 years old.
Gosnells Junior Football Club president Brad Thomasz said it defied logic to make young umpires get such approval. “I can understand if they were adults umpiring, but most of our junior umpires are kids themselves,” he said.
Mr Thomasz said most of the club’s junior umpires were 13 and 14 years old and umpired modified rules games, played by kids aged nine to 11.
He said posing this administrative burden on young umpires could compound the difficulty clubs had attracting young umpires.
“Every year there is a struggle to get umpires,” he said.
The Umpires Association successfully pleaded with the commission to bring down the cost of obtaining this check for young umpires from the standard $85 to $11.
Most junior umpires in WA receive $35 for umpiring a modified rules game and pay about $170 to become an umpire.
A parent of a junior umpire, who did did want to be named, described the new regulations as “absolute stupidity”.
“I am puzzled because why does a child have to get a working with children check?,” he asked.
“They think they are improving it but they are making it harder.”
WAFC chief executive Gavin Taylor said the commission had updated it working-with-children policy this year to align with State Government legislation.
“All umpires that receive payment for their services will now require a working with children check. Anyone under 18 years of age who is umpiring as a volunteer remains exempt from a working with children check.”
Mr Taylor said WAFC understood the policy was a significant shift from past practice and the potential impact the new regulation may have on recruiting and retaining new umpires.
Department of Communities assistant director general commissioning and sector engagement Brad Jolly said WA’s working with children laws came into effect at the start of 2006.
“There have been no changes since, to the requirements for sporting clubs, and there are no new requirements for sporting clubs now,” he said.
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