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‘Worrying times for Championship clubs’ says Featherstone chief Campbell

Featherstone Rovers chairman Mark Campbell.
Featherstone Rovers chairman Mark Campbell.

FEATHERSTONE Rovers chairman Mark Campbell is calling for the Rugby Football League to appoint sports supremo Barry Hearn as the game’s new chief executive.

It follows the announcement that Nigel Wood is to stand down from the role.

Campbell paid tribute to the outgoing chief executive of the sport’s governing body, insisting Wood leaves behind an impressive legacy after more than 10 years in post.

Campbell now hopes to see the RFL appoint Heard in a bid to drive rugby league forward.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nigel for all of his efforts over the past decade,” said Campbell, a Rovers director for 10 years.

“These are worrying times for Championship clubs and the sport as a whole due to the uncertainty brewing in regards to the future.

“Given all of the progress which has been made in recent seasons, bringing the gap between Super League and the Championship, it is extremely disappointing to see Nigel give up the fight.

“We now have to move on, however, and I believe Barry Hearn could achieve great things with our sport. He has done so already in darts, boxing and snooker and we boast - in my view - the best spectator sport on the planet.

“At Featherstone, we are closing in on becoming a full-time club and genuinely pushing as a serious promotion candidate via the Super 8s format.

“The sport of darts has progressed incredibly under Barry’s guidance, not only in terms of the World Championship but with the Premier League too.

“The sport now offers fantastic opportunities - just look at what Rob Cross has achieved in recent weeks. He has gone from an amateur dreaming to claiming a world title and now a place on the Premier League tour.

“No one has batted an eyelid in the dropping of Adrian Lewis from the Premier League roster, with Barry and his team at the Professional Darts Cooperation giving the up and coming stars a chance to shine.

“I firmly believe Barry could make a continued success of the Super 8s format in rugby league and the thought of him and his people running our game makes me hugely excited.

“We certainly require outside experience when it comes to who takes over Nigel’s role later this year. The idea of promoting from within is a non-starter given the challenges and opportunities currently facing the sport.”

Wood’s departure was announced last Friday. Chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer will act as interim chief executive while the RFL’s board begins its search for a successor.