Tony Sutton has recently been appointed as the RFL’s replacement for Ralph Rimmer.
Following this he appeared on BBC Radio Manchester where he underlined his excitement at being appointed:
“I’m absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to have a bit of an influence on the game and how our sport moves forward.
“Ralph has been very generous with his time and his knowledge. I’ve been at the RFL for close to six years and with nearly 15 seasons at a club before that, the transition has been pretty straight forward although it feels different when you’re sat in the chair.”
He also opened up on the process of being appointed in the role:
“It started at the end of October or early November with a chat with the recruitment consultant. I think there was a shortlisting process carried out so obviously I made sure to step back from any involvement in it.
“There was then a panel interview with the board and some external representatives including a Super League club.
“Then the final assessment day was intense, there was a session with members of staff, a session with a chair, another panel interview that included representation from Sport England and there was a mock radio interview with Tanya Arnold who put me through my paces on a couple of topics.
“Rugby league has never, or not in my time, has been a game blessed with massive resources so I think knowing what it’s like at a club, being at that sharp end and the challenges those guys face I think is a massive positive. It’s good experience to have.”
He also addressed criticism of the RFL: “I think the criticism that we get is something that we take as pushing us forward. Going back to wanting things to be better, we take criticism like that.
“Many many times there’s elements of decisions we make where others aren’t in possession of all the information, or maybe you have three or four choices with none being the perfect outcome but you’re trying to choose the best one.
“So I’m not sure the criticism stings like that. It stings me for my colleagues because I know how hard they work and others at the RFL work. The vast majority of people are there because they want the game to go well.
“Games at the weekend whether they be Super League, NCL or kids running around, they all happen because people at our Ethiad Campus work really hard to make sure they happen.
“So the criticism stings me for them, but also it makes sure we go forward.”
A vitally important area for him and the RFL is of course the TV deal which is set to expire at the end of this year.
He revealed that there are “lots of potential partners”:
“I can’t give an update on the broadcast situation at the moment other than there’s lot of work going on, lots of potential partners being talked to with the aim to maximise coverage and revenue for the game.”
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