17.08.23 03:03 PM By Editor

The National Officiating Summit is excited to announce the signing of Community Partner, Club Respect.

Club Respect is a national harm-prevention initiative by the Victorian Women’s Trust that provides resources and guidance for clubs to build and maintain a deep culture of respect.

One of the biggest challenges facing almost every Australian sport is the issue of match official abuse, with some sports experiencing yearly officiating losses of 30% and more. In 2022, the AFL acknowledged a nationwide issue with a shortage of umpires numbered in the thousands across various metro and country leagues. Rugby Australia recently announced that just over halfway through this year's rugby union season, match official abuse was already double that of the 2022 season (Source: ABC).

Club Respect promotes respect as the best defence against abuse, violent attitudes and behaviours.

Event Director, Ash Synnott, said the Summit’s expanding connection with local officiating is an important pillar of the event.

“Club Respect do an amazing job at amplifying some of the critical messages that are facing abuse in community officiating. The resources available promoting holistic respect are a powerful asset for local organisations to adopt and nurture their officials. We look forward to welcoming their personnel to the stage during the Summit”.

Summit Advisor, Patrick Skene, is a renowned book writer and has worked with Club Respect across a number of key initiatives.

“As a football coach and occasional referee I have noticed a dramatic decline in respect for match officials, especially after COVID-19. When I started writing about this problem for Club Respect I found a national crisis was looming across a range of sports with significant churn rates of umpires and referees leaving and not being replaced. I think abuse and lack of respect for match officials is the biggest problem facing Australian sport - a cultural blind spot.”

Tarik Bayrakli from Club Respect said,

“If we truly want to address all forms of bad behaviour from the sidelines of community sport, we need to address the abuse of match officials. Clubs are notoriously ill-prepared to support the people undertaking the most vulnerable role in sports while the culture of match official abuse charges on. At the Summit we’ll reckon with this question: is it possible for supporters, players and coaches to disagree with match officials and still respect their role in the game?”

The National Officiating Summit will provide Club Respect an additional avenue to promote the  messages and resources available to Australian sports.


Club Respect is an innovative digital platform designed for sports clubs of all shapes and sizes to embed a culture of respect in all their practices. Club Respect helps sports clubs build and maintain a deep culture of respect..

More information can be found at