Board

Chair

Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson, previously the RFL’s Senior Non-Executive Director having joined the Board in July 2014, is now acting as Chair.

Simon is the Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council. He had a 20-year career that saw him operate at the highest levels of the sports and media industries. After a period as the senior lawyer at the Premier League, Simon’s career in sport saw him spend four years as Director of Corporate Affairs at The Football Association, followed by a role as COO of England’s Bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

He started his career as a lawyer, spending 10 years with ITV, the majority as Director of Rights and Business Affairs.

Away from sport, Simon lives in London with his wife and three children. He is an active participant in community and charitable institutions.

Non-Executive Directors

Chris Brindley MBE

Chris currently holds a number of positions including Chair of one of the UK's leading charities, GreaterSport; Independent Non-Executive Director of Manchester Football Association and Chair of Total Swimming, Total Gymnastics and Becky Adlington Swim Stars.

He is also in demand as an Executive Coach and Mentor for Business Leaders throughout the UK. He is a renowned keynote speaker on topics, which include, Customer Experience, Leadership, Teamwork, Change Management and Performance Management. 

His sporting background puts him in a unique position to blend sporting high performance techniques and apply them successfully in business.

Chris has held Executive positions at NatWest, where he was the Managing Director of the Retail Bank for North of England and Scotland. At British Gas, Chris acted as Business Director North of England and Scotland and was also National Sales Director for Central Heating and Installations.

Chris Hurst

Chris Hurst joined the RFL Board in December 2018 after almost 20 years of experience in the sports industry working for the Premier League, International Cricket Council, BBC Sport and Nielsen Sports, before launching his own digital sports business in 2018 – C J Hurst Consultancy – which provides strategic advice to leading organisations across the sports industry. 

At Nielsen Sports, Chris oversaw the organisation’s digital offer in UK and Europe, working with leading rights holders and brands on a range of key digital issues.

As BBC Sport’s first dedicated social media editor, he developed and delivered a strategy focused on growing BBC’s social media reach and engaging younger audiences.

In his role as Digital Development Editor for BBC Sport’s award-winning interactive services, Chris oversaw the editorial development plans for the Rio Olympics that were used by 102 million unique browsers across the globe.

Chris also works as a Trustee on the Board of the Women’s Sport Trust.

Dr Rimla Akhtar MBE

Dr Rimla Akhtar MBE has over 18 years’ experience in the sports industry across the UK, Middle East and Asia, after a successful career in the City at leading global professional services firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

In 2014, she became the first Muslim and Asian woman on the FA Council in addition to her role on the Inclusion Advisory Board at the FA, and in 2015 she was awarded an MBE for her contribution to equality and diversity in sport. She holds a portfolio of additional strategic and boardroom roles, including as an Independent Director of the Sports Ground Safety Authority, and Council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

She was ranked 14th in the 2018 Forbes global list of the most powerful women in sport. She founded the leading global sport development consultancy, RimJhim Consulting; she was Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation until December 2018; and co-founded the global Muslim Women in Sport Network.

Sandy Lindsay MBE

Sandy Lindsay MBE is Chair of Tangerine, the specialist creative communications agency she founded in Manchester in 2002.

In 2015 she was awarded the MBE for services to business and young people, and in the same year she was named North West Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors (and Highly Commended in the same awards nationally). That followed the launch in 2013 of The Juice Academy, the UK's first industry-led social media apprenticeship which has created jobs for almost 350 young people in the North West. 

A champion of social mobility, Sandy chairs Skills Groups for the North West Business Leadership Team and the Institute of Directors, is on the Business Leadership Council of Teach First, Vice Chair of Forever Manchester and is a Non-Executive Director of Flock and Northcoders.

Executive Directors

Ralph Rimmer

Ralph Rimmer was appointed CEO of the Rugby Football League in July 2018, having taken the role on an interim basis in January 2018.

He has been a member of the RFL Board since 2013 after joining the organisation as Chief Operating Officer in October 2010.

He has a wealth of experience at every level of the game, coupled with extensive knowledge in stadia and leisure development.

He played community rugby league for many years as a junior and senior for Ulverston ARLFC and went on to captain the Liverpool University team and play at student international level, before playing for Wakefield side, Stanley Old Boys.

He began his professional career within the sport in South Yorkshire in 1991 as a Development Officer with Doncaster. He then took up a similar role with Sheffield Eagles three years later, going on to become General Manager and then Chief Executive of the then Super League club.

Following the club’s historic Challenge Cup Final victory over Wigan at Wembley in 1998, Rimmer went on to spend five years as the Chief Executive at Huddersfield Giants before moving on to the board as a non-executive director and taking on the role as the managing director of the stadium company, Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd.

Rimmer spent four years as a non-executive director of Huddersfield Town AFC, helping to take the club out of administration; and also managed the Ireland national rugby league team from 1997 to 2002 (including the 2000 Rugby League World Cup) and the Yorkshire Origin team in 2002. He was also non-executive Chairman of The Sporting Pride Community Trust, in Huddersfield, between 2007 and 2010.

As Managing Director of KSDL he was Project Lead on the £2m stadium redevelopment in 2007 and also on the £150m The HD One Leisure Development. He acted as a management consultant on several stadia developments including; Leigh Sports Village, Colchester United FC Stadium and also the Salford City Stadium.

Karen Moorhouse

Karen Moorhouse is the RFL’s Chief Regulatory Officer with overall responsibility for all governance and regulatory matters across the whole of the game including Salary Cap and Player Registrations, Facility Standards, Safeguarding, Medical, On Field and Off Field Disciplinary matters and Player Welfare.

She has been Company Secretary since 2017 and became a Director in January 2018.

Karen is also a non-executive director of Rugby League World Cup 2021 Limited - the company organising the next Rugby League World Cup in England.

Karen joined the Rugby Football League in 2008 as Compliance Manager.  In 2009 she became Head of Legal and then in 2014 assumed her current role.  Whilst Head of Legal, Karen was also on the Project Board of the Rugby League World Cup 2013. 

Karen is a qualified solicitor having read law at Cambridge University graduating with a First Class Degree. She completed her solicitor training contract at Magic Circle law firm Linklaters, subsequently qualifying into the Banking Department.  

In 2005 Karen joined the Football Association as an In House Lawyer with responsibility for a range of sponsorship, commercial and other legal matters.

2020 Board Meeting Dates

6th February, 25th March, 27th May, 29th July, 10th September, 15th October and 3rd December.