FORMER Football Association Chief Executive Brian Barwick has been appointed as the new chairman of the Rugby Football League.
Barwick, who hails from Liverpool and now lives in Twickenham, will take up the position as non-executive chairman on Friday - just as the new Super League season gets underway.
The RFL say Childwall-born Barwick, who writes a fortnightly sports column in the Liverpool Post, brings a wealth of experience in sport and broadcasting to the role, having held a number of senior positions in the worlds of sport and media. These include Controller of Sport at ITV and a number of key roles within the BBC, including Head of Television Sport, as well as chairman of the FA.
Welcoming the appointment, RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “I am delighted that we have been able to attract a sports administrator of Brian’s calibre. His track record speaks for itself.
“Brian’s considerable experience will help us take the game forward as Rugby League prepares to embark on the most important year in its history with a competitive Super League, a new-look Championships and, of course, the Rugby League World Cup in England and Wales this autumn.”
Barwick will formally take up his new position on February 1 and attended his first meeting of the RFL’s independent Board of Directors today (Wed).
Barwick said: “I am absolutely delighted to accept the position as the new Chairman of the RFL. Rugby League is a sport I have a genuine respect and affection for and I am determined to spread the word about what a great sport Rugby League is, especially at this exciting time when we host the Rugby League World Cup in England Wales.
“The RFL is a widely respected governing body, with an exceptionally strong management team which has produced outstanding results over the last decade and I am very much looking forward to joining the Board and working with my new colleagues to take this great game forward.”
Commenting on the contribution Maurice Watkins has made to the RFL in his capacity as Interim Chairman, Nigel Wood said: “I want to pay tribute to the excellent work that Maurice Watkins has done as our Interim Chairman.
“Maurice is a man of outstanding competence, integrity and independence and I am very pleased he is continuing on the independent board for the rest of his term of office.”
Barwick was Chief Executive of the Football Association from 2005 to 2008 where he saw through the completion of the new Wembley Stadium, launched the Respect campaign and was involved in the appointment of England’s senior coach on two occasions.
He was also a board member of Wembley Stadium Ltd and FIFA’s Legal Committee and UEFA’s National Teams Committee.
At ITV he was responsible for all ITV Sports coverage, including the 1998 FIFA World Cup during which the highest audience in ITV’s broadcasting history was achieved (28 million people for the England v Argentina World Cup tie).
From 1979-1998 Barwick, a lifelong Liverpool FC fan, held a range of senior roles within BBC Sport.
He was responsible for award-winning coverage of the BBC Sport television portfolio, including the summer and winter Olympics, FIFA World Cups and outstanding national events like the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final, Wimbledon, the Open Golf, the Grand National and the FA Cup Final. He was Editor of Match of the Day from 1987-1995.
Barwick studied economics at Liverpool University and began his career as a reporter on the North West Evening Mail in Barrow. He is married with two sons.
He currently holds a number of posts including a visiting Professorship of Strategic Leadership at The School of Management at Liverpool University.
He is the founding partner of Barwick Media and Sport, a global sport and media consultancy. Brian Barwick will take up his part-time post as RFL Non-Executive Chairman with effect from February 1.