3 Aug 2012

The Rugby League European Federation has announced, after its latest board meeting, that the current acting chairman and board member of the Rugby Football League, Maurice Watkins CBE, has been elected as the organisation’s chairman in succession to Richard Lewis.

Also chairman of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain and a former director of Manchester United, he has a wealth of experience in the sports governance sector. As Joint Senior Partner in a prominent law firm and a director of the British Association for Sport and Law, he has served as the FA Premier League’s representative on the Association of European Professional Football Leagues and is a Member of the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee for England and Wales (PFNCC).

“This a very exciting time for rugby league in the areas over which the RLEF has jurisdiction, one of unprecedented, concerted and structured expansion,” Watkins said. “I hope to be able to bring guidance, direction and experience to the table of what is already a dynamic group. In only a short time I have sensed their passion for the game and how it is impacting on juniors and seniors throughout the regions it serves.”

He continued, “Having Italy in the forthcoming 2013 World Cup for the first time is an indication of what can be achieved. We have a broad canvas to work with and I am confident that we can make further significant progress.”

Among the other items on the agenda, Trinidad and Tobago were accepted as having Observer Status, building on the work being done in the Caribbean by Jamaica who played in the World Cup Qualifiers.

TTRL president Chad Simeon commented, “The Trinidad and Tobago Rugby League Association is delighted and honoured to be affiliated with the Rugby League European Federation. This marks the birth of what we hope will be a long and fruitful relationship between the two bodies, raising the profile of the sport not only in the country but around the region. The ‘Bacchanal Boys’ are ready to step forward.”