Brian Barwick to leave role as RFL chairman... and become president of 2021 World Cup

Rugby Football League chairman Brian Barwick
Rugby Football League chairman Brian Barwick

Brian Barwick has announced he is leaving his role as chairman of the Rugby Football League.

Barwick, who has served two three-year terms since he succeeded Maurice Watkins as Chair in February 2013, will depart on July 24.

He will also step down as Chair of Super League Europe and Rugby League World Cup 2021.

But he is not cutting ties with the sport altogether - the Rugby League World Cup 2021 announced this morning that he will be appointed to the new role of president of Rugby League World Cup 2021.

Simon Johnson, currently the RFL’s Senior Independent Director, will act as Interim Chair of the RFL from July 24th until a new chair is able to start.

Ralph Rimmer, the RFL chief executive, said: “Brian has shown real leadership since he took on the role of chairman and has been a great figurehead for the sport. He truly loves the sport and his passion for it, and the people within it, has shone through over his six years in charge.

"He has been a key driver in helping navigate through what have been some choppy waters and now steps down having delivered some real change. He is thoroughly deserving of his new RLWC2021 role and beyond that will always be welcome in our sport. We would hope to see plenty of him in the future.”

In his letter to clubs, Barwick said: "I have played a central part in the governance changes and re-structuring of the game that has taken place over the past 18 months and at times it proved very challenging - and so it should have. However I was determined to stay in my current role until a satisfactory conclusion was reached - which is now imminent.

I do believe the sport, at all levels, has a good future. And already I think this season there has been signs of ‎a freshness about our elite competitions."

Barwick, 65, is the former chief executive of the FA and is still actively involved in football as the chairman of the National League and a FA Council Member.

He has enjoyed a long career in sports broadcasting as the former head of BBC Sport and Editor of Match of the Day, and Controller of ITV Sport.