THE AFL wishes to advise Hayden Kennedy has tonight informed the umpiring team he has decided to resign from his position as AFL Umpires Head Coach after eight years in the role.

Making his VFL / AFL umpiring debut in 1988, Hayden went on to umpire 495 games including five Grand Finals. Retiring in 2011 as the then-record holder for most games umpired, Hayden moved to serve as an Assistant Coach before his promotion to the Head Coach role in 2014.

Off the field, Hayden has worked tirelessly to develop the skills and performance of the elite AFL umpiring panel.

AFL Executive General Manager Football Operations Steve Hocking thanked Hayden for his service to the game over the last three decades.

“On behalf of the AFL and wider football and umpiring community, I’d like to thank Hayden for his significant contribution to the game,” Mr Hocking said.

“Hayden’s expertise, passion, tenacity and professionalism has been a tremendous asset to both the AFL and the umpiring group.

“Over the course of his time in umpiring, Hayden has contributed to the progress of Australian Football through the implementation of a team first approach to umpiring which is now prevalent at all levels of the game.

“It not only important to acknowledge his contribution at the elite level, it is equally noteworthy to highlight his unrecognised support of community and state league umpires and their coaches, always generously giving his time to promote umpiring in any way that he can.

“While it’s disappointing to lose someone of Hayden’s calibre, we wish him all the best as he embarks on the next stage of his career.”

Hayden Kennedy said he has enjoyed his time in umpiring and looked forward to the next phase of his career.

“I would like to thank the AFL for the experiences and the opportunities that has been provided to me throughout my time in football. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have experienced what I have in this extraordinary game,” Mr Kennedy said.

“As a coach, I have not taken the job lightly and I sincerely hope I have contributed in a positive manner to make our game the best game it can be.”

Hayden will finish in his role in Round 10 of the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

Hayden Kennedy Achievements:
VFL /AFL Umpiring Debut: 1988
Total Games umpired: 495 AFL / VFL games (a total games record at the time)
All Australian: 1997
State of Origin games umpired: 3
AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match: 2008
Finals umpired: 39
Grand Finals: 5 (1995, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2003)
Life Member of the AFL Umpires’ Association
Recruited to AFL / VFL Cadet squad in 1984 and promoted to senior list in 1987
Started umpiring in the Essendon District Football League in 1983