FORMER Essendon football manager Dan Richardson has been officially appointed the AFL's new head of umpiring. 

As revealed by on Sunday, the axed Bombers football boss had been targeted to take on the vacated role by the League.

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He takes over from Grant Williams, who was recently moved into a senior role at the AFL within the talent team as national talent development and competitions manager. 

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Richardson will oversee the AFL's umpiring panel and the expansion of umpiring at all levels of the game. 

He spent three years at Essendon before being cut by the club following its post-season review. He had previously spent five years with Richmond as its head of football, having come from a player management background.

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"Dan has extensive football experience and knowledge, and is highly regarded across the AFL industry," the AFL's football operations manager Steve Hocking said.

"He brings a clear understanding of high performance, coaching and talent development which will benefit the progression of umpiring nationally."

FULL STATEMENT AFL appoints Dan Richardson as head of umpiring

Richardson will start in his new position on January 12.