Umpiring Pathway

SANFL’s umpiring pathway has been developed to ensure you’re equipped with skills, knowledge and on-field experience to progress to an elite State League level, or maybe even professional AFL umpiring.

If it’s your goal to one day umpire at the highest level, we’ll help you get there.

Once you’ve completed the SANFL Basic Umpiring Course, you’re ready to start umpiring school or SANFL Juniors before progressing.


With an introductory Basic Umpiring Course under your belt, you can start training at one of SANFL’s four metropolitan SANFL Juniors umpiring panels before starting to umpire games in your local community.
You will also have the opportunity to achieve a nationally recognised accreditation (Development Umpire) in your second year of umpiring (worth 10 SACE credits).


Once you’ve developed your basic umpiring skills and have a sound knowledge of the laws of the game, you may have the opportunity to umpire in senior community matches, such as the Adelaide Footy League.

You will also have the opportunity to earn an additional nationally recognised accreditation (Advanced Umpire).


If you are an umpire that demonstrates talent and potential at community junior or senior level, you may be eligible for promotion to officiate in our elite State League men’s and women’s competitions.

Upon selection, you will continue your development by umpiring State League underage (U16 & U18) and senior (Reserves & League) competitions.


By demonstrating good character, elite potential and a clear desire to maximise your umpiring talent, you may be eligible for selection to the AFL Umpiring Academy.

The academy aims to prepare you to thrive in AFL competitions and is focused on developing on-field and off-field capabilities.


Once you are selected in the AFL Umpiring Academy, you may be promoted to the prestigious AFLW competition. AFLW sits at the upper echelons of the umpiring pathway and will expose you to the elite match-day environments and coaching. Your participation in AFLW will accelerate your elite-officiating competencies.


Your final step in the umpiring pathway is the AFL competition.

Once selected to the AFL Umpiring group, you will have the opportunity to officiate in AFL home & away matches, finals and grand finals, subject to your ongoing development and performance.



Umpiring provides opportunities for girls and women to participate at all levels of Australian Football.

To increase the number of female umpires, the AFL & SANFL are focused on providing programs that accelerate their development.

The SANFL Female Umpiring Academy is an initiative that is offered to all female umpires, providing them with a number of specialised training nights in an all-female environment.

This academy has a particular focus on providing a clear pathway for those who aspire to umpire in State League, AFLW and AFL competitions.


SANFL and the AFL are focused on increasing diversity in Australian Football by providing community and school-based programs. If you have a multicultural background, you could be eligible to participate in the SANFL Multicultural Umpiring Academy which offers young people a chance to experience the benefits of umpiring, including the social aspect and life skills.

This Academy is based at Thebarton Oval and consists largely of students from Thebarton Senior College.

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