Player-ump relationship 'good as ever' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Player-ump relationship 'good as ever'

By Laine Clark 27/04/2009 07:52:02 PM Comments (0)

The relationship between AFL players and officials is "as good as ever" according to umpires boss Jeff Gieschen.

Despite a public spat with Collingwood and a spate of player contact with umpires, Gieschen said some issues had been "blown up" in the media.

Brisbane Lions coach Michael Voss appeared to agree on Monday, saying he was "a bit uncomfortable" that umpires and players had been perceived to be in conflict this season.

Collingwood last week escaped penalty over two furores involving match officials.

The league decided not to discipline Collingwood over now-discredited claims floated in the media that a field umpire pushed a Magpie in a recent match against Brisbane.

And Magpies coach Mick Malthouse dodged a fine after the AFL accepted he did not direct abuse towards an umpire at the quarter-time break at the Gabba.

Both incidents came just a week after Collingwood's Heath Shaw was suspended for one match for making contact with a field umpire.

But Gieschen said umpires were more than happy with players' conduct.

"If you speak to our senior umpires they will tell you the relationship on ground with players is as good as ever," he said in Brisbane on Monday.

"They (players) are extremely disciplined. Yes they will ask questions, but they (umpires) will not get the abuse or constant disputing of decisions that perhaps you got 15 years ago.

"Things get blown up when you have comments after games when we have the odd player contact.

"It's just one of those things at the moment because there has been a spate of umpire contact, but I think we are working through that."

Melbourne defender Jared Rivers on Monday became the latest to fall foul of authorities for bumping into umpires.

But Gieschen did not want to dwell on the AFL's recent talks with Collingwood.

"That's been dealt with. There was a meeting last week between the AFL and Collingwood Football Club - both parties had a very healthy discussion about that," he said.

Meanwhile, Voss said he was concerned how the player-umpire relationship was being portrayed in the media.

"I am a bit uncomfortable about the way umpires and players are being perceived (that they) are in conflict at the moment," he said on Monday.

"I don't think that it currently exists like that, but it certainly has been perceived that way.

"We always continue to have to build our relationships with key players in our game - and the umpires are there to do a job too.

"And they are going to make mistakes and so are the players.

"That relationship has always got to be quite tight. But at the moment the perception has gone.

"You always need to have the players and umpires working quite closely (together)."

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