Concerned by the amount of time it was taking to re-start play at stoppages, the AFL has told clubs umpires will no longer inform players about which direction they are heading after a centre bounce or ball up.
In a release which came only hours after the AFL announced it would appeal tribunal decisions to clear Carlton brothers Charlie and Ed Curnow on charges of making intentional contact with an umpire, the league's football operations boss Steve Hocking said players would now need to assume umpires would head out backwards from a centre bounce or ball up around the ground.
The AFL has written to all clubs to advise that umpires will no longer direct players on-field where they will head out backwards from a centre bounce or ball up around the ground.
"The time taken to re-start play at stoppages had been gradually increasing and all players should now be aware that umpires head straight back from any bounce / ball up situation. It was the responsibility of players to avoid this area at any stoppage situation," the statement said.
"The umpires will re-start play when ready, to keep the game moving, while boundary umpires will be instructed to only wait before returning the ball to play at a throw-in, if required by the field umpire."
Daniel is an Age sports reporter.
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