Nigel Wood has stepped down as the chief executive of England’s Rugby Football League (RFL) to take up the same role with the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF).
The RLIF board unanimously approved Wood’s appointment following the conclusion of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. Wood, who has been the RFL’s chief executive since October 2007, will replace David Collier as the head of the sport’s global governing body later this year.
The appointment means Wood will stand down as the chairman of the RLIF, with the organisation set to consider nominations for a replacement in February.
Wood first joined the RFL board in 2001, and has since overseen the 2013 Rugby League World Cup staged in the UK, Ireland and France, and helped secure the return of the competition to England in 2021.
The RFL’s chief operating officer, Ralph Rimmer, is set to assume the role of RFL chief executive on an interim basis.
“I feel honoured and humbled to be asked to serve the RLIF as chief executive for the next phase of its development,” said Wood. “International rugby league is a wonderful and essential aspect of our sport as the images, testimonials and emotions of the recent World Cups have once again demonstrated.
“I believe these are exciting times as more and more people recognise the role of international rugby league has in developing the whole sport. New countries and investors are attracted to our sport and I look forward to working with all parties, clubs and other key stakeholders to ensure that we give players, supporters and commercial and broadcast partners the most compelling international calendar that we possibly can.”
John Grant, deputy chairman of the RLIF, added: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Nigel to take over as the executive lead for the RLIF at this time. Nigel is a ten-year chief executive with a proven track record as a rugby league administrator of the highest standard, is respected on both sides of the world, has an intimate understanding of the complex relationship between domestic and international rugby league, and provides a fast start in the role at a time when capitalising on the momentum created by the 2017 World Cups is critical.”