England’s Rugby Football League (EFL) has named Andy Burnham as its new president.
Burnham, who was elected as the first ever mayor of Greater Manchester in May 2017, was confirmed in his new concurrent role at an RFL council meeting in Huddersfield. He will succeed Dean Andrew in July 2018.
47-year old Burnham was member of the UK government from 2001 and the former Labour MP for Leigh held ministerial positions in the Home Office, the Department of Health and the Treasury.
In 2008, he became secretary of state for culture, media and sport, before returning to the Department for Health as secretary of state in 2009.
Burnham is the honorary vice president of Championship side Leigh Centurions.
"Being asked to represent the proud sport of rugby league is one of the greatest honours I've ever been given,” said Burnham."I will seek to use my time in the privileged position of president to raise the profile of the sport in any way I can.
"Greater Manchester is one of the sport's greatest heartlands. We have six famous clubs and a grassroots and club structure that is strong. I see it as an important part of my role as Mayor of Greater Manchester to develop the game here and further afield.
"I believe rugby league has huge untapped potential. It is a fantastic sport that builds teamwork, promotes strength of character and brings communities together. This passion needs to be nurtured if we are to develop this great game from grassroots upwards and encourage more people, particularly our younger generation, to get involved."