Rugby League


25 Jul 2023

Widnes Vikings become the latest club to benefit from Rugby League’s Inclusive Boards project

Widnes Vikings become the latest club to benefit from Rugby League’s Inclusive Boards project

Widnes Vikings has become the latest professional club to benefit from the ground-breaking partnership between the Rugby Football League (RFL) and executive search firm Inclusive Boards.

Inclusive Boards specialises in supporting organisations to become more inclusive, through greater board diversity and stronger governance structures, and is working with the RFL to help broaden and strengthen the skills, knowledge and expertise within boardrooms. 

The Vikings, one of an initial 10 professional clubs involved in the Rugby League Inclusive Boards project, have appointed a new non-executive board member: solicitor Joy Morton, who is currently General Counsel and University Secretary at Wrexham University. 

Joy Morton says: “Widnes Vikings’ values resonate with my own and the club’s board have already demonstrated their inclusivity by the way they have embraced and welcomed me as a member, enabling me to connect, belong, and to contribute and make a difference.

“Inclusion starts at board level, setting not only the tone but the vision for inclusion as a priority for the club. I am excited to be part of this.

“Day-to-day, I work at Wrexham University, an institution which places inclusion and accessibility at the heart of everything. We believe that higher education should be available for all, so to see similar core values at the forefront of everything that the club does makes me feel extremely humbled to be part of it.”

Widnes Vikings director, Rod Steele, adds: “We are already feeling the benefits of Joy’s professional knowledge and business experience, and she has quickly become a valued member of the board. 

“The club has many a good number of female fans who are among the most loyal and supportive. Several of them have hugely important volunteer roles in such areas as sponsorship, fundraising, Golden Gamble sellers and not least arranging away coach travel. This appointment goes in some way to reflect this support.”

RFL Inclusion Lead, Ben Abberstein, says: “The Board Diversity Project aims to ensure that Rugby League’s reputation for inclusion at all levels applies at the very highest level – in club boardrooms. This project is another important part of our TACKLE IT inclusion strategy and a massive step forward for the game – a step that is only made possible by the commitment of clubs such as Widnes Vikings.”

The 10 clubs currently taking part in the Rugby League Club Board Diversity Project are: Barrow Raiders; Halifax Panthers; Huddersfield Giants; Hunslet; Midland Hurricanes; Salford Red Devils; Sheffield Eagles; Swinton Lions; Wakefield Trinity; Widnes Vikings. Inclusive Boards is working alongside all participating clubs. 

More information about Inclusive Boards is available at