RFL’s Richard Lewis appointed Chair of Sport England

20th February 2009

The RFL’s Executive Chairman Richard Lewis has been appointed the new Chair of Sport England, a role he will take up on 1 April.

His appointment will see him spend two days a week working for Sport England and three days a week at the RFL, although he will relinquish some of his executive duties to become Chairman.

Richard Lewis said: “I am delighted to be appointed as Chair of Sport England at such an exciting as well as challenging time in sport.  I think my appointment is a reflection of all the hard work put in by everyone involved in Rugby League, from the grassroots through to the national set-up, to make it the sport it is today.

“Rugby League brings huge benefits to all those involved, and at Sport England I want more and more people every year from all walks of life to get involved in sport and experience those benefits.”

Nigel Wood, the RFL’s Chief Executive, said: “Richard is one of sport’s most highly respected administrators and it is testimony to his hard work that he has been appointed to such a key role.

“Rugby League has progressed significantly under Richard’s stewardship and we’re delighted that his new role will allow him to continue within the sport so that the progress of the last six years can be built upon.”

Richard Lewis joined the RFL as Executive Chairman in May 2002 and during his leadership the sport has seen the unification of the various bodies involved in Rugby League, participation levels, broadcast coverage, rights, and commercial income all increase, and geographical expansion at both the elite and grassroots level.

In the last four years participation in the sport has increased by 150 per cent from 114,000 to 285,000 and every county in the UK now has regular competition at various age levels throughout the summer.

A Welsh and a French side are now part of engage Super League and a French side is joining this year’s revamped Co-operative Championship competition.

 Rugby League has also led the way with a number of firsts for sport.  This year’s engage Super League is a fully licenced competition where by teams are safe from relegation for the next three years in an effort to improve standards both on and off the field.

A huge driving force behind the growth of international Rugby League, Richard Lewis will continue as Chair of the Rugby League European Federation and as Deputy Chair of the Rugby League International Federation.