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Birmingham Netball League - Umpiring FAQ's

14 Aug 2020

As we progress towards the re start, the answers to some of these questions will become clearer and I will keep you all updated.

Will the league re start from where the season was left when it was suspended in March (winter 19/20 season) or will it be a brand-new season?

The league will re-start with a brand-new season.  There are several reasons which make resuming the league from the position we left it in the winter season just not an option.  

When will the new season start?

The first date we can re-start is 1st October.  This is the goal and I know everyone is very keen to get back on court. However, it is important the venues and the league have everything in place before we return.  I will confirm the start date for your league soon.

Will there still be a pool player and play up system?

Yes, with one added rule.  Pool players will only be allowed to play one match per evening.  Players will only be allowed to play up on evenings when their own registered team does not have a game.  I would envisage there being no issues finding pool players or new players for teams. 

How many teams will be in the league?

It is hard to say at this moment, it is possible some teams will not be ready to return in this first season, however, we do have new teams entering.   As it stands today, I have had a great response to teams entering the new season.

What happens if I cancel any umpiring you have scheduled for me?

As always, it is never a problem if you have the cancel your umpiring for any reason and I will organise cover.  I fully understand things happen and as normal the more notice you can give me the better.

I do not feel ready to return to umpiring yet, can I return to umpiring at some point in the future?

I am keen no umpires are disadvantaged if this is your situation.  Your umpiring place in the league is secure for when you are ready.  If you just let me know when you are ready, and you will re-start your umpiring immediately.

Is there still the flexibility to umpire as much or as little as I like?  Can I still umpire and play in the league?

Yes, I am still more than happy to schedule umpiring that suits and works for you.  If you just let me know any updates in terms of your umpiring preferences (dates unavailable, how often, number of games, times, venues).  Yes, you can still umpire and play in the league, however, you may not be able to do both on the same night.  I will confirm this as soon as possible.

What might change in terms of the umpire scheduling?

I will try to ensure you only umpire with one other umpire per night.  I am also planning to have some umpires based at certain venues regularly.  There will be benefits to umpires knowing the setup of the specific venue for themselves and for teams.   

What will happen with the kit bag at venues?

As part of the risk mitigation plan, I do not want to store kit bags at venues and I also want to minimise who has contact with them.  It means I will look for some help on this with certain umpires taking ownership and responsibility of kit bags.   In effect the only thing in the kit bag will be the match balls.

Can new umpires join the league in the new season?

Yes, that is one thing that never changes, I can never have enough umpires!

How will we be paid?

All payment will now be made by an online bank transfer.  No cash payments. 

What equipment will be provided by the league?

We will only provide match balls and first aid.  At this stage no other equipment such as bibs, nail files, tape etc will be available to teams.  All teams will need to bring their own bibs and equipment. This is unfortunately also the case for umpire equipment, and you will need you to bring your own scorecards, whistles, stop watches and pencils.  The league though will be providing all PPE (sanitiser, wipes etc) that is needed for the league.  Fixtures will be sent to umpires in advance and results sent to me via a photo of your own scorecards.

What happens if there is a clash of bib colours or players want to change positions?

There will be provisions made for this situation.  Full details will follow in the ‘return to your league’ pack.

What are all the safety measures that will be in place?

England Netball and the government have given the green light for netball to return.  The guidance and measures to do this safely have been published, which you should have access to now.  I will be sending out Team Captain, Player and Umpire ‘return to your league’ packs soon, which will confirm all safety measures regarding your league and the part you play in it.  Match Night is a small business, so it gives us some advantages for this situation.  I have a full overview of all the leagues and importantly at ground level.   I will be in constant contact with all the venues, umpires, and teams and because of this I can say with confidence compliance of the new safety measures. Plus, you have a single reliable point of contact in me, should you have any questions or feedback as we progress. We will all have a part to play in ensuring the league returns safely.

With the safety measures and modified netball rules in place, I feel like there could be a lot more for umpires to have to deal with?

Please do not worry and especially about doing anything wrong, we are all going support each other every step of the way.   This is the culture I think will happen automatically, but certainly the one I have always aimed to install in the league and will continue to do so.  As always, I will fully support umpires as we progress and will expect players to do the same.  It has always been my goal that umpires need to focus as much as possible on just umpiring…. that job is enough of a challenge! 

There will be a few ‘in game’ related safety measures, for example the ball being cleaned every quarter, where I will need your help to ensure is done.  The plan though is to try to minimise these for umpires, so you can focus on the game.

In terms of the safety measures in their entirety, they are very much everyone’s responsibility to adhered to and we all need to personally make sure we are compiling to the guidance.  I have confidence team captains and players will take responsibility and follow the guidance, plus also remind each other of them.   I will only be asking you to help issue friendly reminders on this when you see it is needed, but everyone will know what they need to do, and it will soon become routine.   The key is we all need to support each other and if we see someone going wrong, we just help them with a little reminder.

Teams will no doubt need some help and reminders on the modified netball rules, especially when we first start back. 

Where I am present at the venues, I will also be reminding teams on the guidance/rules, as well as supporting umpires with any in game safety measures.   It is the leagues responsibility to ensure everything is in place and the guidance is adhered to.

I will really welcome your feedback as we progress, so we can make any adjustments needed or issue reminders to ensure we develop the best practice and full compliance.

The league will be safe, but it will also be fun and friendly.

What is it going be like?

I think it is vitally important we do not lose sight of the fact that we play and umpire in a netball league because it is something we enjoy and love.  As umpires you all want an experience where you can just focus on your umpiring and enjoying your netball.  Fun, friendly, competitive and hassle free!

The league is going be a place we can meet friends, socialise, and have fun being involved in a sport we love.   Netball played an important part in people’s life before and now when we return, I believe its importance is magnified and benefits have only been enhanced.

There will be measures in place to keep us safe, however, part of my job will be to ensure we come back with all the great things we love about the league and netball.     

It is time to start getting excited and get your game face on!  We are going love every minute of being back on court, so I really hope you can be part of the return of netball!

Please feel free to contact me any time either via email or call me.  I appreciate sometimes it is easier to have a chat over the phone, so do feel free to call. 

e: david@match- night.co.uk

m: 07810058894

w: match-night.co.uk


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