The RFL has today paid tribute to Rob Burrow CBE, Ralph Rimmer OBE and Kevin Sinfield CBE, following their recognition in the King’s New Year Honours List for 2024.
Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield, the former Leeds Rhinos and England team-mates who had previously been awarded MBEs and in Sinfield’s case also an OBE, have been further recognised for their tireless and inspirational work to support the Motor Neurone Disease community – following Burrow’s diagnosis with the disease in December 2019.
Ralph Rimmer has been recognised for his services to Rugby League, after well over two decades working in the administration of the sport, beginning as a development officer at Doncaster, continuing as Chief Executive of Sheffield Eagles for their famous Challenge Cup Final win against Wigan at Wembley in 1998, and in the same role at Huddersfield Giants, before 12 years with the Rugby Football League including five years as Chief Executive before he stepped down in December 2022.
Simon Johnson, the Chair of the RFL, said:
“On behalf of the whole Rugby League family, I extent my warmest congratulations to Rob, Ralph and Kevin for these richly deserved awards.
“The way in which Rob has responded to his MND diagnosis, with the support of his remarkable family, has been a national inspiration.
“So, too, has the incredible friendship demonstrated by Kevin Sinfield throughout the last four years.
“The sport of Rugby League could have no better ambassadors, underlining the special bonds that are forged by team-mates, in this case in so many successful seasons with Leeds Rhinos.
“Ralph Rimmer has been a passionate advocate of Rugby League throughout his decades in the administration of the sport, and that has continued to be the case since he left the RFL last year.
“His period as Chief Executive of the RFL included the Covid pandemic with the unprecedented challenges it presented to all sports, and Ralph was an outstanding leader for Rugby League throughout that period.”
Ralph Rimmer said:
“This award is very special to me and I am incredibly grateful to receive it – and my congratulations today go to Rob Burrow CBE and Kevin Sinfield CBE, for their thoroughly deserved recognition.”