Outgoing RFL chairman Brian Barwick says the sport has “a good future”, but believes the time is right for another person to take Rugby League forward.
It was announced this morning that Barwick will not seek a third term as chair of the RFL, and so will step down on 24th July.
The former football chairman, who has served two three-year terms since he succeeded Maurice Watkins in February 2013, will also step away from roles as Chair of Super League Europe and Rugby League World Cup 2021.
Barwick said: “It has been an absolute privilege and pleasure to be at the helm of such a wonderful sport for the past six years and more.
“And I will miss all of those elements of rugby league life. However I feel it is the right time to give somebody else the chance to take the sport forward. And I will offer my unequivocal support to them.
“On a personal note I celebrate my own 65th birthday soon, and with over four decades in and around top-class sport behind me, I feel it is time now to scale back on some of my wide range of activities.
“I have played a central part in the governance changes and re-structuring of the game that has taken place over the past 18 months and at times it proved very challenging – and so it should have.
“However I was determined to stay in my current role until a satisfactory conclusion was reached – which is now imminent.
“I do believe the sport, at all levels, has a good future. And already I think this season there has been signs of a freshness about our elite competitions.
“There has been a significant growth in profile and broadcast coverage for both Super League and Championship and League 1.
“The streaming of matches from those competitions, and also from the early rounds of the Challenge Cup, have brought a whole new opportunity for people to enjoy our sport on both traditional and new media platforms.
“It is also great to see the Women’s Super League developing so well – and a real sense of direction for our Community Game emerging.
“And I believe our England teams are showing real signs of the value of the investment that has been put into them over the past few years.”
Barwick will remain in the sport through his impending appointment to the new role of President of Rugby League World Cup 2021.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted to accept an offer to be the organisation’s President and will continue to do my bit in helping deliver a stand-out international event in this country: a World Cup that will encompass men’s, women’s and wheelchair team competitions staged in some of the country’s finest stadiums and in the heartland of the game.”
The RFL nominations committee will shortly meet to agree the process for the appointment of a successor as Chair of the RFL,
Simon Johnson, the RFL’s Senior Independent Director, will act as Interim Chair of the RFL from July 24th until a new Chair is able to start.