Not at all unlike a bored Dad sinking half his life into a car that will never truly be finished, the AFL has continued its grand off-season tradition of tinkering with its own rules endlessly for no real reason other than they have a lot of trouble sitting still. This time, league officials have made a significant change to the way umpiring officials will signal goals this season, and it’s a change that brings a 26-year-old regulation to an end.

The new regulations state that a goal umpire will no longer be required to return to the centre of the goal line before signalling a goal. Rather, they’ve been “given a licence to award a goal between the goalposts using the shortest distance and time from where they’re positioned when a ball sails through.”

In essence, they can more or less stand wherever they like between the goals while showing the world how big’s their dick. They no longer have to make an arbitrary couple of steps back to the centre of the line first.

It may seem small, but it’s a significant shift for goal umpires that’s been designed to mandate “fewer ‘mechanical’ movements” in signalling a goal.

It’s also the end of a regulation that’s been in place since 1994, some 26 years ago.

Between 1994 and 2019, umpires were required to stand in the direct centre of the goal line. Prior to that, it was a less regulated stance associated with older-style suburban football and a part-time amateur umpiring fleet that was more likely to be seen in long white doctor’s coats.

The change has already been implemented in games across the current on-going AFL pre-season, and will continue into the AFL men’s Premiership season which begins in just over two weeks.

For reasons that will remain officially unclear but unofficially are reasonably obvious, the league has not implemented the change for the on-going AFLW season.

Image: AAP