IMPORTING independent umpires for Hampden league netball finals has been ruled out.
Panel and club umpires will officiate all finals matches, the league has revealed.
Chief executive officer Mike Farrow said the controversial importing of umpires raised last month had been ditched in favour of existing whistleblowers.
Clubs unanimously voted for A-badged umpires to be brought in from outside the league for the A grade and A1 preliminary and grand finals.
The motion had been moved at a club forum despite concerns such a decision could rile existing panel and club umpires, who are relied on each week.
The idea was based on an outside umpire officiating alongside an existing panel umpire.
But Farrow said Ballarat and Geelong-based officials with the high qualifications were unavailable because of commitments with their own leagues.
Instead, the league is calling on all clubs to nominate any of their umpires who may be interested in stepping up to officiate in finals.
Farrow said the league’s panel of umpires would be used in the higher grades and club officials appointed for games not involving their own teams.
“This is another chance to give club umpires some experience with quicker, more pressured games,” he said.
Farrow said the league did not have enough panel umpires to officiate all grades during September’s finals series.
This season the panel has comprised five umpires who were available each week, down from six in 2013. The move to use club officials also clears the way for several players who are good umpires to be considered for matches if they aren’t playing.
Farrow said a yet-to-be convened panel, including himself and an independent umpire and club representative, would be formed to rank the club umpires so they were given suitable appointments.
The move to include club umpires ensures their volunteer efforts are rewarded with matches at the business end of the season.