AFL goes from three to four field umpires in 2023
The AFL are hopeful there will be less umpire errors and fewer biffs off the ball after announcing they will introduce a fourth field umpire for games this season.
More than seven years after first trialling four field umpires instead of three, the AFL has decided to make it a permanent change this season.
"The fourth umpire will optimise decision making, allowing umpires to be in better positions to adjudicate a contest - whether they are stoppages through the midfield or marking contests at either end of the ground," AFL umpiring boss Dan Richardson told the AFL website.
"Having two umpires at stoppages also acts as a strong deterrent to off-the-ball players from engaging in undisciplined play. Umpires will also be able to manage off-ball situations more effectively.
"We have conducted more than 600 club visits over the pre-season seeking significant feedback from club coaching staff and players around the positioning of the four umpires and their movement patterns."
On Tuesday, the AFL updated its Tribunal guidelines in a bid to eliminate loopholes that allowed players to escape suspensions on technicalities.