Super League set for key exits following IMG takeover

The Super League body is set for key exits following the takeover of IMG.

Though the vacated positions are not thought to be as a result of pressure from IMG, it will see a number of people move to other sporting organisations or even careers outside of sport.

That follows the news that RFL Chief Executive Ralph Rimmer and Executive Director Karen Moorhouse stepped down in their roles at the beginning of the week.

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.”

Karen Moorhouse said: “I have enjoyed my journey in Rugby League and being part of the development of the sport over the last decade – including the growth including the growth in the Women’s and Girls’ Game.  Post the pandemic, my focus has been governance realignment, bringing on board a strategic partner and maximising the impact of the World Cup.  I am proud that the Sport is now on a positive trajectory with the new organisational structure set to be operational at the start of 2023.   As such, I believe that the time is right for me to move on. On a personal level I am looking forward to taking on new challenges; however, I will continue to enjoy and be a part of the Sport.”

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