Exclusive: RFL set for immediate replacements for Ralph Rimmer and Karen Moorhouse as rugby league heads in new direction

Today marked the date that the Rugby Football League (RFL) is set to head in a new direction under IMG.

Chief Executive Ralph Rimmer and Executive Director Karen Moorhouse both announced their departures from the RFL earlier on today.

Ralph Rimmer said: Karen has played an increasingly influential role in the sport since joining the RFL in 2008. In the last two years, she has been pivotal in steering Rugby League through the unique challenges of the pandemic, been integral to the realignment of the sport, and then in forging our new partnership with IMG. Her contribution and commitment to Rugby League has been immense and she has been a stand-out performer in often the most testing of environments. The sport and the organisation has massively benefited from her strength and sense of purpose over her tenure.”

Of his own departure, Rimmer added: “It’s the right time – for the sport, and for me.

“It has been the biggest privilege of my life to be CEO of the RFL – and an immense challenge and responsibility to fill that role during such a tumultuous period for all sport, and for Rugby League in particular.

“After the initial shock of Covid and as its impact on sport became apparent, we resolved that we must do much more than survive, and instead use it as an opportunity to set Rugby League on a new course.

“We have reshaped the sport’s governance, with the formation of a new commercial arm serving the whole of the sport – an essential step to forge a partnership with IMG which is unique in British sport, and holds the potential to take Rugby League to a new level.

“They are a world class operation, with world class people – and they are working with a magnificent sport, as we look ahead to the unique opportunities of the Rugby League World Cup in England this autumn.

“These changes have been planned and mutually agreed between myself and the RFL Board for some time and as a result we have spoken at various club forums on their necessity.

“I have been around the sport long enough to know that you cannot please everyone in a position such as this – and indeed, that you should never attempt to do so.

“But it’s the people in Rugby League, on and off the field, who make it such a special sport. I am grateful to my incredible colleagues over more than a decade at the RFL, and to those at Rugby League Cares, Super League Europe, the Rugby League World Cup, and also to so many great friends across Rugby League.

“Whatever I do next, I’ll always be available to Rugby League, in whatever way I can help. For the next few months, however, my focus will be on playing my part in the significant changes that are ongoing – and on supporting our England Men’s, Women’s, Wheelchair and PDRL teams as we finally welcome the Rugby League world.”

With the duo departing, it remains to be seen who will be appointed in their absence. However, Serious About Rugby League understands that that decision will be revealed tomorrow lunchtime as the governing body is set for a drastic, immediate change.

It is definitely an interesting period as a rugby league follower with IMG ringing the changes just months into their tenure.