The Board

Brian Barwick: RFL Non-Executive Chairman

Brian Barwick

Brian Barwick took up the role of Non-Executive Chairman at the Rugby Football League in February 2013.  He has a wealth of experience in sport and broadcasting and is the founding partner of Barwick Media and Sport, a global sport and media consultancy.


Brian has held a number of senior positions including, Chief Executive of the Football Association, Controller of Sport at ITV, and a number of key roles within the BBC, including Head of Television Sport. 


Brian 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 vs. Argentina World Cup tie).


From 1979-1998 Brian 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 and the Grand National, and the FA Cup Final. He was Editor of Match of the Day from 1987-1995.


Brian studied economics at Liverpool University and began his career as a reporter on the North Western Evening Mail. 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 and Chairman of the Advisory Board at the University College of Football Business.

Nigel Wood: Chief Executive

Nigel Wood

Nigel has been a Director of the RFL for 12 years, being appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2007. During this time the RFL has delivered a profit in each consecutive year and investment around the sport has reached record levels. Nigel is also Chief Executive Officer of Super League (Europe) Ltd, a position he has held since the creation of the company in 1996.


Nigel joined the RFL in 2001 and has held a number of positions in the organisation, including Chief Financial Officer. Prior to working for the RFL, Nigel was Chief Executive of Super League Club Halifax Blue Sox and Deputy Head of Finance for BBC North. He graduated from the University of Bradford in 1996 with an MBA in Business Administration.


Nigel is committed to the expansion of the international game and he was elected as Vice Chair of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) in May 2012 having worked in support of the federation for the past ten years. Nigel is Chair of the Business, Finance and Grants Sub-Committee, which has overseen the implementation of a formal grants protocol for the first time in the history of the organisation.


He has supported European development through his work with the RFL and assisted the development of the international game by working with broadcast partners to have the widest possible audience for international matches.


Nigel played Rugby League for Bradford Northern and Halifax RLFC at junior levels and Huddersfield at reserve grade, together with a number of seasons playing Amateur Rugby League in the Pennine League.


Nigel enjoys spending his spare time at Brighouse Rangers ARLFC where he assists with the coaching of the Under 14s team. 

Ralph Rimmer: Chief Operating Officer

Ralph Rimmer

Ralph Rimmer was appointed onto the board of the Rugby Football League in 2013 after joining the organisation as Chief Operating Officer in October 2010. He has a wealth of experience at every level of the game, coupled with extensive knowledge in stadia and leisure development.


He played community rugby league for many years as a junior and senior for Ulverston ARLFC and went on to captain the Liverpool University team and play at student international level, before playing for Wakefield side, Stanley old Boys.



He began his professional career within the sport in South Yorkshire in 1991 as a Development Officer with Doncaster. He then took up a similar role with Sheffield Eagles three years later, going onto become General Manager and then Chief Executive of the then Super League club. Following the club’s historic Challenge Cup Final victory over Wigan at Wembley in 1998, Rimmer went on to spend 5 years as the Chief Executive at Huddersfield Giants before moving on to the board as a non-executive director and taking on the role as the managing director of the stadium company, Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd. 


In the last decade Rimmer spent four years as a non-executive director of Huddersfield Town AFC, helping to take the club out of administration; and also managed the Irish national rugby league team from 1997 to 2002 (including the 2000 Rugby League World Cup) and the Yorkshire Origin team in 2002; He was also non-executive Chairman of The Sporting Pride Community Trust, in Huddersfield, between 2007 and 2010.


As Managing Director of KSDL he was Project Lead on the £2m stadium redevelopment in 2007 and also on the £150m The HD One Leisure Development. He acted as a management consultant on several stadia developments including; Leigh Sports Village, Colchester United FC Stadium and also the Salford City Stadium.

Maurice Watkins CBE: Non–Executive Director and Interim Chairman 2012

Maurice Watkins

As a senior partner at Brabner Chaffe Street, a successful law firm based in Manchester, Maurice is one of the most prominent lawyers in sport. He holds a number of high-profile positions in the world of sport and is currently Chairman of British Swimming, Greyhound Board of Great Britain and Barnsley Football Club.  He is a former director of the world’s biggest football club, Manchester United.


He is a director of the British Association for Sport and Law, a director of Lancashire County Cricket Club, Regional Chairman of Coutts Bank, Chairman of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charity and Chairman of the Board of Governors of Manchester Grammar School.


In 2011 Maurice was made a CBE for his fundraising role at the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


In 2012 Maurice became RFL Interim Chairman, succeeding Richard Lewis and he held this position until the appointment of new Chairman Brian Barwick. In 2012 Maurice undertook the Watkins Review of Governance for the RFL and he remains a non-executive director on the board.  Maurice is Chairman of the Rugby League European Federation and a Member of the Board of the Rugby League International Federation.

Bob Stott: Non-Executive Director

Bob Stott

Bob has extensive experience in the highly competitive supermarket industry, including twenty years at director level with Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, together with a successful period as the organisation’s Chief Executive. Bob is currently a non-executive director on the boards of Leeds Building Society, the Greyhound Board for Great Britain, Frank Roberts and Sons Ltd and First Milk Ltd.


Bob brings a wealth of experience to the RFL having enjoyed a track record of success and delivery in an organisation where cost control was of paramount importance. He also brings strong commercial skills and significant experience on various board committees, as well as being a keen follower of team sports.

Clare Morrow: Non-Executive Director

Clare Morrow

Clare is currently the Chair of the award-winning tourism marketing agency Welcome to Yorkshire, who led the successful bid for the Tour de France grand depart to be staged in Yorkshire in 2014. Clare is also a non-executive director of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.


She has previously spent fifteen years at ITV Yorkshire, where she was Controller of News and Regional Programmes. During her time at ITV, Clare also held the position of Head of Sport for a time and was responsible for Yorkshire Television’s Rugby League output for many years. This included the creation, development and production of the Rugby League Raw series of programmes, which won several National Royal Television Society sports awards.


Clare sits on the board of Sheffield Theatres and is also a trustee and school governor at Hollybank School in Mirfield.