Laws of the Game

All AFL Canberra umpires are expected to know and apply the 2023 AFL Laws of the Game in order to perform their role as an AFL umpire.

The purpose of the Laws of the Game is to explain how a match of Australian Football is played and seek to attain the following objectives:

  • To ensure that the game of Australian Football is played in a fair manner and a spirit of true sportsmanship; and
  • To prevent injuries to players participating in a Match so far as this objective can be reasonably achieved in circumstances where Australian Football is a body contact sport.

The guiding principles for the Laws of the Game are:

  • The unique characteristics of the game should be maintained and encouraged
  • Player health and safety is protected via the Laws of the Game, interpretations and officiating
  • A priority of the Laws, interpretations and officiating is to reward and protect the player who makes winning the ball their primary objective
  • Australian Football at AFL level should be maintained as a physically tough and contested game with appropriate consideration to player health and safety
  • Players of various sizes, football and athletic ability have an opportunity for success in the game played at the highest level
  • The direction and movement of the ball is unpredictable and has few restrictions
  • There are few restrictions on where player can be located across the ground
  • Continuous and free flowing football is encouraged ahead of repetitive short passages of play
  • The Laws of the Game balances offensive and defensive aspects of play, where an attacking style of game is encouraged

Rule and interpretation changes will be considered if there is an opportunity to further enhance, or address trends that threaten the principles of the Laws of the Game.

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