/ ABOUT THE RFL
Simon Johnson, previously the RFL’s Senior Non-Executive Director having joined the Board in July 2014, became the Chair of the RFL in October 2019. Alongside his appointment, two additional Non-Executive Directors were added to the Board.
Simon runs a Consultancy business advising clients in the sport and leisure industries and charitable third sector. He spent 7 years as 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 four 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.
Away from sport, Simon lives in London with his wife and three children. He is an active participant in community and charitable institutions.
Dr Rimla Akhtar OBE has over 18 years’ experience in the sports industry across the UK, Middle East and Asia, after a successful career in the City at leading global professional services firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
In 2014, she became the first Muslim and Asian woman on the FA Council in addition to her role on the Inclusion Advisory Board at the FA, and in 2015 she was awarded an MBE for her contribution to equality and diversity in sport. She holds a portfolio of additional strategic and boardroom roles, including as an Independent Director of the Sports Ground Safety Authority, Council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and Independent Director of Bettys and Taylors Group.
She was ranked 14th in the 2018 Forbes global list of the most powerful women in sport. She founded the leading global sport development consultancy, RimJhim Consulting; she was Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation until December 2018; and co-founded the global Muslim Women in Sport Network.
Sandy Lindsay MBE is Chair of Tangerine, the specialist creative communications agency she founded in Manchester in 2002 and which she put into Employee Ownership in 2017.
In 2015 she was awarded the MBE for services to business and young people, and in the same year she was named North West Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors (and Highly Commended in the same awards nationally). That followed the launch in 2013 of The Juice Academy, the UK's first industry-led social media apprenticeship which has created jobs for more than 400 young people in the North West and across the UK. In 2020 she co-founded a third business: Vine Insights, which helps brands understand their audiences online.
A champion of social mobility, Sandy chairs the Skills Group for the North West Business Leadership Team and is on the Business Leadership Council of Teach First. She is Vice Chair of the charity Forever Manchester and a Non-Executive Director of Flock and Northcoders.
She was re-elected for a second three-year term at the 2022 Annual General Meeting, thereby becoming the senior Non-Executive Director.
Tony Sutton was appointed as Chief Executive Officer following the departure of Ralph Rimmer in December 2022. Previously, Tony had been the RFL’s Chief Operating Officer since January 2019, having joined the governing body as Director of Finance and Facilities in February 2017. His previous roles include Group Finance Director and Chief Operating Officer of Hull College Group, a large Further Education College group with sites across Yorkshire, and prior to that 13 years with Hull FC Rugby League Club during a period in which Hull moved from the Boulevard to the then newly built KC Stadium as well as make their first Super League Grand Final appearance in 2006, following a memorable Powergen Challenge Cup win in Cardiff in 2005.
Robert Hicks was appointed Company Secretary in January 2023. He has worked in Rugby League within the Legal and Operations Department since February 2011 becoming the Director of Operations and Legal in October 2021. He has overall responsibility for the administration and regulatory framework across all sectors of the sport including Player Welfare and Safeguarding.
Robert is a former International Match Official having officiated at 3 World Cups. He has refereed 2 Challenge Cup Finals, 2 Grand Finals, 2 World Club Challenges and numerous international matches whilst taking charge of over 500 first team matches including over 300 in Super League.
A qualified lawyer, Robert was admitted to the Roll in February 2008 (having previously been called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in July 2004). He previously worked in private practice before joining the RFL where he was responsible for the drafting of the sport’s first set of Operational Rules for Tiers 4-6 as well as being the lead legal person on the 2013 World Cup.
Robert has been actively involved in the sport for most of his life, including in several volunteer roles within the community game at Saddleworth Rangers and latterly at Batley Boys.
Dr Cherrie Daley is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS), with almost two decades of experience in high performance sport. Having worked across a wide variety of elite sports settings in both practitioner and leadership roles, Cherrie has a strong appreciation for the challenges involved.
Cherrie was a technical lead for the English Institute of Sport (EIS) supporting Olympic and Paralympic athletes, coaches, and practitioners during both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic/Paralympic cycles. From 2014 until 2022 Cherrie held several positions for City Football Group (CFG) serving latterly as a Director, overseeing central Performance Support Services (including Coaching, Human Performance, Sports Medicine and Applied Research) for ten clubs across the world.
Cherrie has made contributions to the fields of Leadership, Sport Psychology, Youth Development and athlete well-being, and is currently engaged in consultancy projects and advisory roles across both sport and corporate contexts, specialising in strategic, organisation and leadership development.
Cherrie has been appointed the Welfare & Safety Lead for the Board in January 2023.
Ed Mallaburn is IMG Media’s Head of Sport, and sits on both the RFL and RL Commercial Boards as part of IMG’s 12-year strategic partnership with Rugby League.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan sits on the RFL Board as a Board Observer attending meetings, supporting discussions, and assisting in succession planning. Jones-Buchanan also currently holds the new position of Director of Culture, Diversity and Inclusivity at Betfred Super League side Leeds Rhinos.
He enjoyed an historic professional playing career featuring as an integral part of the Rhinos ‘Golden Generation’ which oversaw the clubs most successful period between 2004 and 2017 playing in seven Betfred Super League Grand Finals as well as lifting the League Leaders’ Shield, Betfred Challenge Cup and the World Club Challenge on numerous occasions.
In 2022, he was appointed an MBE in the New Year’s Honours for services to Rugby League and the community of Leeds.
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Directors Code of Conduct
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Board Meeting Agenda 250821
Board Meeting Agenda - 30/06/21
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Board Meeting Agenda - 20/05/21
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Board Meeting Agenda - 23/03/21
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Board Meeting Agenda - 03/02/21
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Board Meeting Agenda - 18/12/19
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Board Meeting Agenda - 27/06/19
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Board Meeting Agenda - 30/11/18
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Remuneration Terms of Reference - August 2019
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Nominations Terms of Reference - August 2019
Laws Committee Terms of Reference - August 2019
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Audit and Risk Terms of Reference - August 2019
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