Brian Barwick officially stood down as Chairman of the Rugby Football League at today’s Annual General Meeting in Doncaster, and has been succeeded as Interim Chair by Simon Johnson, the RFL’s Senior Non-Executive Director.
The AGM also approved the reappointment of Chris Brindley MBE as a Non-Executive Director for a second three-year term, and the appointment of the former Arsenal and England footballer Tony Adams MBE to the honorary, ceremonial role of President for the next 12 months – in recognition of the contribution he has already made to the sport through his Sporting Chance charity, with which the RFL entered an official partnership in 2011.
Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium was an appropriate venue for Carl Hall, a New Zealander who signed for the Dons in 1988 after his first trip to England with the Junior Kiwis, to be appointed as Vice President, also for a 12-month period.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, handed his chains of office to Adams after serving as President for the last 12 months; and Pat Crawshaw, who became the RFL’s first female vice president in July 2018 after decades of stalwart service to the community and women’s game, handed the Vice-Presidential chains to Hall.
Brian Barwick, who took over as the RFL Chairman in February 2013, had announced in April that he would not be standing for a third three-year term. He was thanked for his service to the game by the St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus on behalf of the clubs, and presented with a signed, framed print of the England wing Tommy Makinson completing a hat-trick in front of the Kop at Anfield in last autumn’s home Test series against New Zealand.
Simon Johnson joined the RFL Board as a Non-Executive Director in July 2014, having previously worked in sport as Senior Lawyer at the Premier League, and as Director of Corporate Affairs at the Football Association.
“I am incredibly proud to have been asked by the RFL Board to serve this great game as Interim Chair,” he said. “I am also honoured to begin my term at the same time as our appointments of Tony Adams as President and Carl Hall as Vice President.
“My term as Interim Chair will cover a very exciting period for the game of Rugby League – starting this weekend, with the Coral Challenge Cups Triple Header in Bolton.”
The AGM also approved the RFL’s consolidated accounts for the year ending December 31 2018 which show a loss of £327,000 – attributed to an historically low attendance at the 2018 Challenge Cup Final. The adopted budget for 2019 generates a profit of £207,000 to increase cash and reserves, ahead of further projected profits in 2020 and 2021.