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Exclusive: Major change to Rugby Football League CEO role revealed under IMG following Ralph Rimmer’s departure

Rugby league is in a transitional period.

After being taken over by IMG, the sport is set to be ‘reimagined’ in a way that will make the sport something unrecognisable in years to come.

There has also been a big change at the RFL with Ralph Rimmer stepping down as Chief Executive and Karen Moorhouse doing likewise as Executive Director – though an RFL spokesman has confirmed that those decisions were not instigated by IMG and that both had the opportunity to stay on.

With that, there needs to be two major decisions made to replace the duo with a decision expected in 2023, though there is an outside chance that December this year could yield an outcome.

That recruitment process has started now, but Serious About Rugby League can reveal that the RFL CEO – previously Rimmer’s position – will have a ‘slightly lower profile’ with the job becoming a different one, although there will still be significance given to international rugby league, governance and the community game.

There also needs to be positions filled on the Rugby League Commercial board whilst a Managing Director also needs to be appointed.

It’s an incredible place that the sport now finds itself in, with a 12-year strategic partnership signed with the RFL and Super League with IMG, a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion owned by Endeavor, who have been tasked with revolutionising Rugby League and its competitions in the UK.

The agency will initially focus on competition restructuring, content production and innovation, domestic and international distribution of media rights, digital transformation powered by IMG’s digital sports arm Seven League, brand strategy delivered by Endeavor’s cultural marketing agency 160over90, and streaming through Endeavor’s OTT platform Endeavor Streaming.

As part of a second phase of work, IMG will also provide data collection and data-driven product development, including sports betting products and streaming rights via its sports data and technology business IMG ARENA.

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