Requirement for use of Level 1 umpires
As I’m sure you are aware the league has been progressively implementing a policy of making it mandatory to use Level 1 umpires (or higher) for league games. This was started in the 1998/99 season for divisions 1 and 2 and has been extended to successive divisions in the following seasons. It had been the intention to increase the rate of application by including two extra divisions per season from this year, which would require Level 1 umpires for divisions 5 and 6 for the coming season. It was also our intention to tighten up the scheme with a more rigorous policing of umpires actually used and to introduce penalties for any failures to do so. However prior to publishing the details for the start of the season we decided to do an audit of the current situation with regard to this rule. This audit consisted of a review of the announcements re the scheme, checking the list of registered Level 1 umpires against the EHA register of Level 1 umpires and comparing the number of umpires each club had registered against our view of the number they would need in the coming season. The result of this audit showed:
While clubs have been told about the scheme and its requirements re which divisions are impacted, at least twice a season since its start (usually at the AGM via newsletters and in pre season letters) we felt, with hindsight, that the extension of the requirement to division 6 had not been given sufficient publicity.
Too many clubs do not have enough registered umpires to cover their teams for this coming season
Several of the umpires registered with us as Level 1 (even in some cases with their number) do not appear in the EHA register.
Given the above we have decided that now is not the time to tighten up the scheme; rather we should use the coming season to get it right and to position everybody to make it work properly with the introduction of the new league structure. Therefore for the coming season there be a moratorium for all divisions. The implications of this are:
For season 2001-02 clubs will not be penalised for not having Level 1 umpires in any of the divisions; they will however still be expected to supply umpires with appropriate competence (which will be monitored via the umpires marking scheme)
The scheme will be enforced from season 2002-03 onwards
For season 2002-03 Level 1 umpires will be needed for divisions 1 to 4 and the top two divisions in both the North and the South legs of the league (i.e. Division 5 South, Division 6 South, Division 5 North and Division 6 North)
Clubs must have their Level 1 umpires registered by the end of March 2002. In placing clubs in the new structure the league will take account of the number of umpires a club has registered and whether this is regarded as sufficient .
The requirement will move forward two divisions at a time in each of North and South legs in subsequent seasons. This means all divisions will require Level 1 umpires by season 2004 onwards.
The NW league is currently one of the few, perhaps the only one of its kind, that doesn’t have a blanket requirement for Level 1 umpires. It is in everyone’s interest to make this happen. The league will continue to work closely with the NWHUA in support of umpires getting their Level 1 accreditation, but the onus is on the clubs, players and potential umpires to take advantage of the opportunities when they are made available.
Please let us know how we can help and do tell us if you have any problems.
Peter Wharton Hon Sec
7th September 2001