Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, and former cabinet minister, today began his term of office as President of the Rugby Football League.

The Rugby Football League Council meeting, attended by member clubs and other Council members, took place in the formal surroundings of the Officers’ Mess at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. The special location was made possible by outgoing President Air Commodore Dean Andrew, Royal Air Force, who, as Air Officer ISTAR, is in command at the RAF base.

Andy Burnham received his formal chain of office and becomes President. The new Rugby Football League Vice-President is Pat Crawshaw, the Universities and Colleges representative on the Rugby Football League Community Board and Council and a long-term advocate for the community game. She takes on this role from Mark Croston, Director at London Skolars.

Ralph Rimmer, Chief Executive, the Rugby Football League said; “On behalf of the sport, I would like to thank Andy for taking up the Presidency. It is a real honour for Rugby League. He is a much admired national figure, a powerful voice for the North West and the Northern Powerhouse agenda more broadly, and the sport has in him a strong and passionate champion. We are delighted that Andy will join the sport at a number of key events throughout his term of office.

He has made a particular commitment to supporting work across the sport to grow participation, increase inclusion and promote the mental health and wellbeing benefits of being involved in Rugby League.”

“Thank you to Pat Crawshaw who becomes the new Vice-President. She is the first representative of the community game to become Vice-President; she is a stalwart of the community game, and a passionate promoter of girls’, women’s and student Rugby League.”

“I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Air Commodore Dean Andrew who has been a committed President and deepened the historic and strong links between our sport and the Armed Forces, in this the centenary year of the end of the First World War. Thank you also to Mark Croston who has served the sport generously as Vice-President and has promoted expansion and inclusion, including presenting the trophy at the inaugural Women’s Super League Grand Final.”

The Rugby Football League Council meeting agenda, including the Annual General Meeting, covered an update by CEO Ralph Rimmer on the RFL Strategy and Mid-Term Review; and Financial Review. Council members were updated on the progress of the 12-18 Review – the largest consultation to date on the youth game, as well as the roll out of the game-wide new Enjoy the Game campaign. Rugby League World Cup CEO Jon Dutton shared the latest on progress on host city bids, World Cup legacy and commercial programmes, and the £25m Government investment in Rugby League, including £10m for grassroots facilities. Rugby Director Kevin Sinfield took Council members through the work and plans of the England Performance Unit and its focus on winning three World Cups in 2021 – Men, Women and Wheelchair.

The Rugby Football League Annual Report 2017 is now available to view here //