Important news coming out today that Richard Lewis, head of the RFL, has been appointed as the new Chairman of Sport England. Lewis will be stepping down from his Chair role at the RFL to avoid conflicting interests, but apparently will be carrying on at Red Hall in a part-time capacity.
This could prove to be a big shame for Rugby League in this country, as Lewis was building up a pretty nice track record. In many respects his appointment for this new job (as well as being courted by the FA for Commission reports) shows that the impact he has had on making the RFL solvent and redeveloping the international programme again has not gone unnoticed by those in other sports. Of course, there are those at other clubs who might be glad to see him gone, with his most controversial move being the introduction of franchises in place of automatic promotion and relegation, and the allocation of franchises has not been the most transparent of procedures. The state of the national team has also fluctuated wildly, and the decision not to sack Tony Smith after the World Cup debacle has raised a few eyebrows. Even so, I think he was certainly the right person for the game at the right time and his tenure has been for the most part fairly admirable His making of tough decision like the franchising was almost certainly made easier by the fact that he came from outside Rugby League (from Tennis, in fact) and I hope when the RFL look for suitable replacements they scour far and wide.