The Rugby League International Federation has appointed RFL and Super League CEO Nigel Wood to be its new Chief Executive. The unanimous decision was taken by the RLIF Board following the successful staging of the Rugby League Men’s and Women’s World Cups in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Wood will take up the office later in the year and will follow inaugural CEO David Collier OBE into the role. He will also stand down as RLIF Chairman as a consequence. The RLIF board will consider nominations for its next Chair in February 2018.
RLIF Deputy Chairman John Grant said
“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Nigel to take over as the executive lead for the RLIF at this time. Nigel is a 10 year CEO with a proven track record as a Rugby League Administrator of the highest standard, is respected on both sides of the world, has an intimate understanding of the complex relationship between domestic and international rugby league, and provides a fast start in the role at a time when capitalising on the momentum created by the 2017 World Cups is critical."
John Grant added
“The RLIF board determined that the board’s Nominations Committee from Australia, New Zealand and Europe should in the first instance undertake a rigorous process with Nigel as its internal candidate to confirm his willingness and suitability to take the role. Failing this, it was then to undertake an external process. The Committee was swayed not only by Nigel’s clear experience but also by his deep knowledge and sincere passion for international rugby league. Its recommendation that he was the right person to take the international game forward at the very exciting but challenging time was adopted unanimously by the full board”
Senior Director and member of the Nominations Committee, John Bishop from NZRL, said
“I have worked with Nigel for two World Cup cycles now and numerous international Tournaments and have seen first-hand his endeavours for the international game. The next few years are vital for international rugby league and the Board believe Nigel is undoubtedly the right person to be bring focus and energy to our plans.”
Nigel Wood said
“I feel honoured and humbled to be asked to serve the RLIF as CEO for the next phase of its development. International Rugby League is a wonderful and essential aspect of our sport as the images, testimonials and emotions of the recent World Cups have once again demonstrated. I believe these are exciting times as more and more people recognise the role of international rugby league has in developing the whole sport. New countries and investors are attracted to our sport and I look forward to working with all parties, clubs and other key stakeholders to ensure that we give players, supporters and commercial and broadcast partners the most compelling international calendar that we possibly can.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
The Rugby League International Federation has held its three World Cups in 2017. France defeated England in the final of the Rugby League Wheelchair World Cup, Australia defeated New Zealand in the finals of the Women’s World Cup and Australia defeated England in final of the Men’s World Cup.
In the recent Women's World Cup, Canada, Papua New Guinea and Cook Islands made their first appearances. In the Men’s Tournament Papua New Guinea staged World Cup matches for the first time and Tonga reached a World Cup semi-final for the first time.
The RLIF has 71 affiliated members, the latest full membership by awarded to Italy in November 2017.
In addition to Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair World Cup, the RLIF held World Tournaments for the Armed Services and Students in 2017.
Rugby League 9’s will be showcased at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.