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Legend Bev Risman OBE passes away

All of rugby league has paid tribute to Bev Risman OBE, and sends condolences to his family and friends.

Bev, whose death has been announced today at the age of 85, was an outstanding rugby player, representing England and the British Lions in rugby union, and captaining Great Britain in the 1968 Rugby League World Cup having switched codes to sign for Leigh in 1961, then moving to Leeds in 1966.

He won both the Championship and the Challenge Cup with Leeds, the latter in the famous Wembley Watersplash final of 1968, and although he was forced to retire by a knee injury in his early 30s, he remained as influential as he was respected over subsequent decades.

Although he had been born in Salford and raised in Cumbria, where his Welsh-father Gus had established himself as a great of the sport with the Red Devils and Workington Town, Bev was a leading figure in increasing Rugby League awareness in London and the south, initially as a development officer, and then as manager at Fulham, and a director at London Broncos.

He was the figurehead for the Student Rugby League as it developed in the 1980s and ‘90s, and was elected President of the RFL in 2010.

He had already been added to the sport’s Roll of Honour in 2005, and was awarded the OBE in 2012 for services to Rugby League.

Tony Sutton, the RFL Chief Executive, said:

“On behalf of the RFL and the sport, we send condolences to Bev Risman’s family and friends – and we pay tribute to a man who made such a contribution to both codes of rugby as a player, and to Rugby League in such a range of roles after his retirement.”

A minute’s silence will be held before tonight’s Betfred Super League fixture between Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants at Headingley, with the players wearing black armbands as a mark of respect.

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