Umpires barred from doubling roles
The National Umpires Committee (NUC), has disclosed that umpires will not be allowed to multitask when the 2023 netball season throws off.
Following the announcement, umpires would not work as bench officials who keep records such as scores, statistics and time.
NUC Vice Chairperson Whyte Mulilima said following new rules and recent training, local umpires have been stopped from working as bench officials as it compromises the standards of officiation.
“This is a standard practice all over the world. Umpires should concentrate on their role rather than registering records and time-keeping,” Mulilima said.
He was confident that the change would not have a negative effect on the forthcoming season, saying they have enough personnel.
“We are confident that we have the right numbers,” he said.
The development comes as the 2023 Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League season was set to kick-off at Blantyre Youth Centre on Saturday.
The league’s general secretary Annie Hanjahanja confirmed umpires have been stopped from combining roles as bench officials due to new rules.
Hanjahanja said they were treading cautiously as they implement the rules.
“The good thing is that some underwent bench officials training last year so it will not be a problem to fit in. However, in terms of numbers, we will see how it works,” she said.
Recently, Rainbow Paints Technical Sales and Marketing Executive Wezi Chirwa said the company was looking forward to the throw off of the league.
“Players are encouraged to train hard in preparation for another successful season,” she said.
Chirwa could not say whether Rainbow Paints would hike the sponsorship.
“Teams should manage their expectations as we already hiked the sponsorship last year. However, I am not saying yes or no. You will hear on the opening day,” she said.
Kukoma Diamonds lifted the 2022 championship after snatching it from their rivals First Choice Tigresses at Blantyre Youth Centre in November.