November 2, 2015

"I will dedicate myself to my own company, and primarily my family" - retiring Kenn Hansen says

Danish top referee Kenn Hansen has surprisingly announced his retirement from refereeing. The 35-year old, who became an international referee in 2010, is going to end his career at the end of this year. 

In a first short statement given to The 3rd Team, Hansen is speaking about his reasons.

Kenn Hansen (centre) with his teammates Lars Rix (r.) and David Vang Andersen (l.) © Kenn Hansen

In the past, there have been many retirements of internationally successful football referees. Some went after having reached the peak of their career like World Cup 2006 final referee Horacio Elizondo. Others lost their motivation having achieved all their goals like Pedro Proença. And still others reorientated and assumed new responsibilities off the field such as Luboš Michel.  

Now, someone has blown his personal final whistle who had a probably great career in European top refereeing only at his feet: Having been planned to make his UEFA Champions League debut in Israel on Wednesday evening (Maccabi Tel-Aviv v FC Porto observed by committee member Vlado Sajn, now handled by Greek Tasos Sidiropoulos), Kenn Hansen was definitely about to reach the upper sphere of UEFA officials.

Nonetheless, he has decided to retire - as he feels unable to combine this dimension of refereeing with his private life including family and his job as the owner of a coaching company specialized in business presentation skills. 

"Since I have my own company, it is difficult for me in the future to comply with the enormous expectations regarding fitness, mental and tactical preparation plus many travel days. These expectations are everyday life for a modern top level referee, and I have always made sure to only take a match if I was 100% prepared on all parametres. This is also what I will do for the rest of 2015, but next year, and in the future, I will dedicate myself to my own company, and primarily my family."

Kenn Hansen (c.) with his teammates (fr.r.) Kehlet, Rix, Larsen and Maae in Spain - Belarus © Kenn Hansen

Up to now, Hansen refereed 114 matches in Denmark’s highest division where he made his debut in 2008. In his five and a half FIFA years which began in UEFA’s former Category 4, he took charge of 15 Europa League matches (7 of them were qualifiers) and 4 Champions League matches (3). 

In addition, he joined three UEFA mini tournaments, one as a referee (Under-19 EURO 2012), one as fourth official (Under-21 EURO 2011 in his home country) and one as an additional assistant referee (Under-21 EURO 2013) . Later in that year, he also participated in FIFA’s Under-17 World Cup in the UA Emirates as a standby official. In 2015, he was actually nominated for the ongoing FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile but had to reject this invitation because of duties in private life.

"I have been extremely fortunate to be given so many great experiences by UEFA. I will always be grateful for these fantastic matches and tournaments. I have also met so many great colleagues and friends for life at the UEFA referee seminars. Great leaders and sportsmen, whom I will follow closely for the final tournaments and Champions League matches in the future." 

With much regret, as European football has definitely lost a very good referee for the future, we wish Kenn Hansen all the best and would like to express our respect for this human and maybe bravest decision he has ever taken as a referee.


  1. I remember Hansen in particular for his outstanding work in this situation: He got it absolutely right, recognised the danger, and defused what could have led to a mass confrontation very easily. One of the most promising referees around.


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