Umpire Stephen McBurney during a 2008 semi-final between Sydney and the Western Bulldogs. Picture: AFL Photos

The AFL is pleased to announce experienced former field umpire Stephen McBurney has been appointed to the role of Head of Officiating.

The Head of Officiating will have the key responsibilities of leading and managing the AFL’s umpiring department as well as leading the AFL Review Centre (ARC) score and umpire review functions.

This will include the AFL and AFLW elite competitions, the VFL and VFLW, national talent umpiring program and pathways (U18s Boys & Girls, National Championships) and match day official performance and appointments.

In addition, the role will also be responsible for overseeing list management and building diverse talent pools, while ensuring connection with the development and delivery of community umpiring.

McBurney officiated 401 AFL games, including four AFL Grand Finals (2002, 2003, 2007 2009) and has also been a female umpire pathway coach.

A lawyer with more than 30 years of regulatory experience in key senior roles for both Commonwealth and State regulators, McBurney has a wealth of experience in leadership positions including his most recent role with Victoria Police.

AFL Executive General Manager Football Laura Kane said she was thrilled to have someone of McBurney’s calibre come on board.

“On behalf of the AFL I’d like to welcome Stephen McBurney to our team,” Kane said.

“Stephen has an immense amount of elite umpiring experience and coupled with a broad skillset and management experience from also working outside the industry, means he will be well placed to lead and drive a strong high-performance culture.

“He will have focus on developing, recruiting and supporting our elite umpire cohort and with his strong background in women’s umpiring will work closely with Lisa Lawry supporting the delivery of the Women & Girls Action Plan across the umpiring department.”

Reporting into AFL General Manager Football Operations Josh Mahoney, the appointment of McBurney fills another key position in Kane’s team.

McBurney will start in the role at the end of April.