Jeff Kennett hits out at 'embarrassing and unprofessional' AFL boss

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Jeff Kennett has taken aim at football boss Steven Hocking over his “embarrassing and unprofessional” handling of a mooted name change for the AFL.

On Tuesday the AFL clarified that it has no plans to change its name after Hocking's comments about potentially calling the men's competition the AFLM.

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On Wednesday Kennett was scathing of Hocking’s comments, saying they were “thoughtless” and that the AFL is “answerable to no one”.

Jeff Kennett speaks to the media. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

“AFL’s Steve Hocking has got to be answerable to someone in the AFL before making thoughtless comments, that then have to be reversed,” the Hawthorn president wrote on Twitter.

“Embarrassing and unprofessional for the AFL. An organisation with little administrative discipline. Answerable to no one.”

Hocking forced to backtrack on comments

Hocking was asked about the possibility of the rebranding to fall in line with the fledgling AFLW women's league on the ABC's The Outer Sanctum podcast on the weekend and was receptive.

"I just think that a lot of what we've touched on here is just tradition," Hocking said towards the end of a wide-ranging interview on AFLW issues, which included women's competition chief Nicole Livingstone.

"There's a whole range of things that we're unpacking that have just been the way they've been because of 160 years of football.

"I think that's OK.

"I don't think we need to necessarily be looking over the fence at one another and saying whether we need to add another initial to something.

Steven Hocking and Gillon McLachlan at the 2019 Brownlow Medal. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"But if in time that's something that emerges, we are all ears at the AFL."

However, the league issued a clarification on Tuesday after the widespread reporting of the comments.

"We had a great first round to season four of the AFL Women's competition," the statement released via social media said.

"AFLW has built its own powerful identity in the community & we will continue to promote its message & celebrate the league & women's football.

"There are no plans to change the name of the AFL competition."

with AAP