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Presidents

The roles of President and Vice President are honorary and appointed by the RFL Council

OVERVIEW

The roles of President and Vice President are honorary, unpaid roles. Each role is appointed by the RFL Council.

The President is an individual who the RFL Council believes will represent Rugby League with distinction and add significant profile to the game. The Vice President is usually the longest serving member of the RFL Council who has not already served as Vice President or President.  

The President and Vice President represent the RFL at a number of different events during their term of office, and will often chose to associate themselves with (and promote) campaigns that have personal resonance. They do not sit on the RFL Board and do not have any decision making powers.


President

Clare Balding OBE succeeded Tony Adams MBE in July 2020 to become the thirtieth President of the Rugby Football League. Presidents are usually appointed on a two-year term, however Clare’s has been extended to December 2022 because of the postponement of RLWC2021.

The broadcaster, journalist and author presented the BBC’s Rugby League coverage from 2006-12, building on a soft spot for the game she had retained from her family’s roots in Knowsley – and earning widespread admiration and gratitude from supporters. 

She has been a familiar and popular figure on the coverage of many sports on both the BBC and Channel 4, starting in Horse Racing and having now worked on six Olympic Games, in addition to numerous Wimbledons and Winter Olympics, and on Channel 4’s award-winning coverage of the Paralympics.

Clare, who has also written a Sunday Times bestseller, continues to present Ramblings on BBC Radio 4, and has won all manner of awards for her presenting and journalism.

She will be succeeded from 2023 by Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons and MP for Chorley.

Vice President

In July 2022 the BARLA chair Sue Taylor succeeded the former Hull KR chief executive Mike Smith as Vice-President of the Rugby Football League, joining RFL President Clare Balding OBE as one half of the first all-female duo in these honorary roles.  

Sue is Rugby League through-and-through. She hails from the birthplace of the sport and has been a loyal servant to the community game for longer than she cares to remember. In fact, it was through Rugby League, and specifically the Underbank club, that Sue met her husband John. It was the start of a lifelong love affair…with Rugby League! She even became Underbank secretary for a time, performed similar roles at St Joseph’s and at Paddock, and in 1989 helped set up the Newsome Magpies club – now known as Newsome Panthers.

Sue’s dedication to the Huddersfield Amateur League saw her became treasurer and secretary, with the Pennine League also benefitting from her business acumen and experience.  

In 2013 Sue became the first female Chair of BARLA and brings to the Vice-President’s role a strong and passionate voice for the community game. Among her priorities for 2022/23, Sue aims to promote ‘respect’ and ‘enjoy the game’, help grow participation numbers and increase the number of match officials – without whom there would be no game. 

Due in part to the Covid-enforced delay to the Rugby League World Cup, Sue’s tenure will be 18 months rather than the usual 12. 

Deputy Vice President

Sue Taylor’s predecessor, Mike Smith, has taken up the post of Deputy Vice President – a role which allows him to bring a wealth of experience to the Rugby League World Cup during the second half of 2022.

A lifelong Hull KR supporter, Mike was the club’s chief executive for more than a decade, leading change and development club both on and off the field. As RFL Vice President from 2020-22, his tenure coincided with the most challenging period in the sport’s history – the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Mike brought to the RFL Vice President’s role a deep knowledge of the community game from his previous roles with Skirlaugh and championed the community game throughout his tenure. He represented the RFL at countless civic engagements at all levels of the game – from community club celebrations to Challenge Cup finals – and will be a tremendous asset to RLWC.

PAST PRESIDENTS

YearNameClub
2019 - 2020
Tony Adams MBE
2017 - 2018Andy Burnham
2016 - 2017Air Cdre Dean Andrew
2015 - 2016Paul MorganHuddersfield Giants
2014 - 2015Andrew Farrow
2013 - 2014David Oxley CBE
2012 - 2013Jim Hartley
2010 - 2011Bev Risman OBE
2009 - 2010Chris HamiltonOldham
2008 - 2009K NicholasBatley Bulldogs
2007 - 2008G LilesHunslet Hawks
2006 - 2007S WagnerFeatherstone Rovers
2005 - 2006P HindleCastleford Tigers
2004 - 2005G HetheringtonLeeds Rhinos
2003 - 2004T FleetWidnes Vikings
2002 - 2003R TaylorRochdale Hornets
2001 - 2002M WhiteSwinton Lions
2000 - 2001R CalvinWhitehaven
1999 - 2000W GarrettWarrington Wolves
1998 - 1999T SmithWidnes Vikings
1997W.J MasonHunslet
1995 - 1996K HetheringtonSheffield Eagles
1994 - 1995R TeemanBramley
1993 - 1994R WaudbyHull
1992 - 1993C.C HuttonHull Kingston Rovers
1991 - 1992M.P LindsayWigan
1990 - 1991H Jepson OBELeeds
1989 - 1990S AckroydHalifax
1988 - 1989L.J BettinsonSalford

THE PRESIDENT’S AWARDS WINNERS

The RFL President’s Awards are special awards in the gift of the President and are designed to recognise inspiring work to change lives and communities through Rugby League, and achievements by players, coaches and volunteers which bring the sport to new audiences. 

Lindsay Anfield received her award thanks to her dedication to her Castleford women's team’s success, and wider campaigning around women’s rugby league; combining her coaching commitments with an exceptionally busy senior role in education.

Lindsay undertook the Women into High Performance Coaching – a UK Coaching programme. This was a yearlong, bespoke and rigorous programme aimed at female coaches who have been identified by their National Governing Body to have the potential to work within the performance environment within one to five years.

Reece Lyne is one of several Super League players who have given time and expertise to support a ground-breaking project at Wetherby Young Offenders Institute delivered by the charity Rugby League Cares.

The programme involved players sharing their own experiences with young people and mentoring them to help improve their self-esteem and get their lives back on track.

Separately from the Rugby League Cares project, Reece has also developed a mentoring programme of his own with young offenders in Hull whose behaviour has disrupted their own lives and affected the lives of others. 

YearWinnerClubAwarding President
2020Mark AdamsCommunity Integrated CareClare Balding
2020Dr Gemma PhillipsHull Kingston Rovers & England Rugby LeagueTony Adams
2019Reece LyneWakefield TrinityTony Adams
2019Lindsay AnfieldCastleford TigersAndy Burnham