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 a Director and Chief Executive of Super League (Europe) Ltd, a position he has held since the creation of the company in 1996.


Nigel was the Tournament Director for the hugely successful Rugby League World Cup 2013 and is committed to the expansion of the international game. In May 2014, he was elected as Chairman of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) having worked in support of the federation for the past ten years. Nigel is also Chairman 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 joined the RFL in 2001 and has held a number of positions in the organisation, including Financial Director and Chief Operating 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 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”. For recreation he is also the Assistant Coach of Brighouse Rangers U’14s RLFC.

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.

Simon Johnson: Non-Executive Director

Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson is the Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council. Before that, he had a 20 year career that saw him operate at the highest levels of the sports and media industries. After a period as the senior lawyer at the Premier League, Simon’s career in sport saw him spend 4 years as Director of Corporate Affairs at The Football Association, followed by a role as COO of England’s Bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He started his career as a lawyer, spending 10 years with ITV, the majority as Director of Rights and Business Affairs. He is a member of the Group Board of the Amateur Swimming Association.



Away from sport, Simon lives in London with his wife and three children. He is an active participant in community and charitable institutions.

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.