President and Vice President


The roles of President and Vice President are honorary, unpaid roles. Each role is appointed by the RFL Council.

The President is an individual who the Council believes will represent the Game with distinction and/or add significant profile to the Game. The Vice President is usually the longest serving member of Council who has not already served as Vice President or President.  

The President and Vice President represent the RFL at a number of different events during their term of office and will often chose to associate themselves with and promote campaigns that have personal resonance. They do not sit on the RFL Board and do not have any decision making powers.


Clare Balding OBE

Clare Balding OBE became the 30th President of the Rugby Football League in July 2020, succeeding Tony Adams MBE on a two-year term.

The broadcaster, journalist and author presented the BBC’s Rugby League coverage from 2006-12, building on a soft spot for the game she had retained from her family’s roots in Knowsley – and earning widespread admiration and gratitude from supporters.

She has been a familiar and popular figure on the coverage of many sports on both the BBC and Channel 4, starting in Horse Racing and having now worked on six Olympic Games, in addition to numerous Wimbledons and Winter Olympics, and on Channel 4’s award-winning coverage of the Paralympics.

She has also written a Sunday Times bestseller, continues to present Ramblings on BBC Radio 4, and has won all manner of awards for her presenting and journalism.

Vice President

Carl Hall

Carl Hall will serve the Rugby Football League in the honorary role of Vice President for a year from 2019, in recognition of the New Zealander’s contribution over three decades to British Rugby League, as well as his commitment as the longest serving member of the RFL Council.

He first came to England in 1987 with the Junior Kiwis touring team, after he which he signed for Doncaster as an 18-year-old.

He made more than 150 appearances for Doncaster in three stints in South Yorkshire, and also played for Hull KR, Bradford, Featherstone, Leeds and York.

He also had a successful spell in rugby union with Moseley, but returned to Doncaster in a crucial off-field role in 2009, helping to assemble a consortium which steered the club away from serious financial trouble.

He has been Chief Executive at Doncaster RLFC since 2013. 

In July 2020, approval was granted for Carl to extend his vice-presidency by six months until December 2020, when he will be succeeded by Mike Smith of Hull KR for an 18-month term running to July 2022. 

Past Presidents

Year Name Club
2019 - 2020 Tony Adams MBE
2017 - 2018 Andy Burnham
2016 - 2017 Air Cdre Dean Andrew
2014 - 2015 Andrew Farrow
2013 - 2014 David Oxley CBE
2012 - 2013 Jim Hartley
2010 - 2011 Bev Risman OBE
2009 - 2010 Chris Hamilton Oldham
2008 - 2009 K Nicholas Batley Bulldogs
2007 - 2008 G Liles Hunslet Hawks
2006 - 2007 S Wagner Featherstone Rovers
2005 - 2006 P Hindle Castleford Tigers
2004 - 2005 G Hetherington Leeds Rhinos
2003 - 2004 T Fleet Widnes Vikings
2002 - 2003 R Taylor Rochdale Hornets
2001 - 2002 M White Swinton Lions
2000 - 2001 R Calvin Whitehaven
1999 - 2000 W Garrett Warrington Wolves
1998 - 1999 T Smith Widnes Vikings
1997 W.J Mason Hunslet
1995 - 1996 K Hetherington Sheffield Eagles
1994 - 1995 R Teeman Bramley
1993 - 1994 R Waudby Hull
1992 - 1993 C.C Hutton Hull Kingston Rovers
1991 - 1992 M.P Lindsay Wigan
1990 - 1991 H Jepson OBE Leeds
1989 - 1990 S Ackroyd Halifax
1988 - 1989 L.J Bettinson Salford

The President’s Awards winners

The RFL President’s Awards are special awards in the gift of the President and are designed to recognise inspiring work to change lives and communities through Rugby League, and achievements by players, coaches and volunteers which bring the sport to new audiences. 

Lindsay Anfield received her award thanks to her dedication to her Castleford women's team’s success, and wider campaigning around women’s rugby league; combining her coaching commitments with an exceptionally busy senior role in education.

Lindsay undertook the Women into High Performance Coaching – a UK Coaching programme. This was a yearlong, bespoke and rigorous programme aimed at female coaches who have been identified by their National Governing Body to have the potential to work within the performance environment within one to five years.

Reece Lyne is one of several Super League players who have given time and expertise to support a ground-breaking project at Wetherby Young Offenders Institute delivered by the charity Rugby League Cares.

The programme involved players sharing their own experiences with young people and mentoring them to help improve their self-esteem and get their lives back on track.

Separately from the Rugby League Cares project, Reece has also developed a mentoring programme of his own with young offenders in Hull whose behaviour has disrupted their own lives and affected the lives of others. 

Year Winner Club Awarding President
2020 Mark Adams Community Integrated Care Clare Balding
2019 Reece Lyne Wakefield Trinity Tony Adams
2019 Lindsay Anfield Castleford Tigers Andy Burnham