Eyebrows were raised in 1976 when the gatekeepers of football deemed that the game was becoming too quick for one field umpire.
Soon after, though, it was generally agreed that it was a good decision.
But those eyebrows were lifted again 18 years later when a third field umpire was introduced.
Now, to continue the 18-year cycle, it’s time to boost the number to four. It was trialled as along ago as 2005, but not introduced.
This time, though, it’s not so much the speed at which the game is played, it’s the style of football which demands that another man in green be introduced.
Just as most clubs these days employ a stoppage coach, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that two umpires are required around the growing number of scrimmages and packs.
The controlling umpire would need 360 degree vision to rule appropriately on the amount of shirt-pulling, arm-holding and illegal blocking that happens in a pack.
It’s too big a task. He needs help.
Don’t expect players to play by the rules. They will if they are consistently monitored but players, especially the run-with variety, will try every trick in the book to stop the superstar of the opposition getting the ball.
Coaches will tell you that clearances from stoppages is probably the most singularly important part of the modern game.
To make this area a fair workplace it's time to employ four field umpires with two working around the stoppages at all times.