RFL Chair explains why Super League referee has taken on huge position in organisation

Today the RFL confirmed some major news as they head for a new era following the departure of Ralph Rimmer.

At today’s meeting of the Rugby League Council that Tony Sutton will act as interim Chief Executive from next Monday (December 12) until the appointment of a permanent successor to Ralph Rimmer.

Tony Sutton has been the RFL’s Chief Operating Officer since January 2019, having joined the governing body as Director of Finance and Facilities in January 2017 – with his previous roles including 30 months as the Group Finance Director of Hull College Group, and before that 13 years with Hull FC.

Robert Hicks, the RFL’s Director of Operations and Legal, will act as interim Company Secretary from the same date, ahead of the departure of Karen Moorhouse.

Ralph Rimmer and Karen Moorhouse announced in September that they would be leaving the RFL at the end of 2022.

This of course sees Rimmer temporarily replaced as the sport looks to a new era and a permanent Chief Operating Officer to help usher in IMG’s reimagining of rugby league but also sees Super League referee Robert Hicks take on a new role.

RFL Chair Simon Johnson explained the decision:

“This gives the organisation the stability and continuity that it requires whilst we complete the search process for the new permanent CEO of the RFL – which will be followed by the permanent Company Secretary appointment as well as the second Executive Board appointment (in addition to the CEO) to the RFL Board.”

As for who will be Rimmer’s replacement long term, it seems it will not be Rugby League World Cup Chief Executive Jon Dutton who has confirmed he is not in the running.

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