BALLARAT Football Umpires Association chairperson Jamie Love has concerns for the welfare of a 16-year-old official who was at the centre of Saturday’s ugly Central Highlands clash between Hepburn and Beaufort.
The youngster was one of two central umpires forced to abandon the senior match when a melee broke out in the final quarter.
Love said the BFUA had been in close contact with the young umpire since the weekend and hoped to keep him in the ranks long-term.
“We’ve got ongoing support for him and we just have to work with him closely and see what happens out of it and be really supportive for him,” Love said.
Love said incidents such as the one at the weekend could make recruiting and retaining umpires difficult in the future.
He also hit out at the players involved in the melee, saying umpires twice tried to restart play to no avail.
“The most disappointing thing for our association and umpiring in general is to have both clubs taking pot shots and saying that the umpires lost control,” Love said.
“There’s an ongoing investigation and clubs and players through social media are criticising the umpiring and blame them for losing control, when in actual fact 36 players lost control and the umpires didn’t.
“If players want to behave in that manner they don’t deserve to have umpires on the field for that.”
Meanwhile, CHFL administrator Diane Ryan will hold an extraordinary board meeting as the league looks for direction on the investigation into the abandoned clash.
Ryan told The Courier video footage of the match, sourced from the Burras, was “not of any use” to the inquiry.
She said five board members would gather, most likely today, to discuss the incident and come up with some recommendations on how to resolve the issues surrounding the match being called off.
Ryan also confirmed that board members that had a connection with the clubs involved would not be part of the meeting.