Ralph Rimmer puts name forward for RFL chief executive role
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 23/01/18 6:20pm
Interim Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer has put his name forward to succeed Nigel Wood, but says the governing body would be happy to speak to boxing promoter Eddie Hearn about filling the vacancy.
Featherstone chairman Mark Campbell has called on the RFL to appoint Barry Hearn, whose son Eddie suggested in an interview that he could turn the sport around in the way that the pair transformed the fortunes of snooker and darts.
Rimmer said there had been no direct approach to Matchroom Sport and that there were no plans to headhunt a successor to Wood, who will officially step down from the role at the end of the month.
"Never say never is the answer to that," Rimmer said. "If anybody can bring anything to the sport, we'd be more than happy to speak to them. We are pretty open to ideas.
"Everybody knows the vacancy is there. I don't think when the time comes they will be short of applications of high quality."
Rimmer, who initially joined the RFL as chief operating officer, added: "I am putting myself forward. The process will be run by the non-executive directors. I can't tell you the exact timetable. They will gauge when they think it's the most appropriate time."
Rimmer played down fears of a rift in the game following the decision of Super League clubs to vote Wood off the board of directors amid speculation that the elite clubs wanted to secure more central funding for themselves at the expense of lower division outfits.
"I don't think there is anybody who sits around a rugby league table and does not care about the entire sport and growing it," Rimmer said.
The clubs are certain to miss their own deadline of introducing a new domestic structure for 2019 onwards, which could mean an expansion of Super League from 12 to 14 teams, before the start of the 2018 season on February 1.
"At this moment in time, 2018 is as is and we'll see what happens beyond that but I don't think it's a concern," Rimmer added.
"We are guilty at times of making too many changes in the sport. The next set of changes needs to set us up for the future so it is far more important that we take the time to make the right decision than work to a fixed deadline."
Meanwhile, Rimmer revealed that Toronto would not be guaranteed automatic promotion to Super League even if they were successful in their Championship campaign and would instead be subject to a review.
That will be undertaken by Wood in his final role with the RFL before taking over as full-time chief executive of the Rugby League International Federation in May.
Wood will also be involved in the decision-making over other proposed North American clubs in New York, Hamilton and Boston, having just returned from a fact-finding trip to New York.
"Toronto was a leap of faith," Rimmer said. "They are currently being assessed on what their return on investment has been.
"Assessing Toronto's impact will give us a bit more of a feel for what other entrants might bring to us.
"They are not necessarily guaranteed a place in Super League. It would appear that they've contributed a lot but they always knew that this review would take place."