Featherstone Rovers chairman Mark Campbell wants Barry Hearn to become the Rugby Football League’s new chief executive.
It was announced last week that Nigel Wood would stand down from his post as CEO of the RFL, with him now taking up a chief executive position with the Rugby League International Federation.
And Campbell has thanked Wood for his efforts spanning over 10 years with the RFL.
He said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nigel for all of his efforts over the past decade.
“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, bridging the gap between Super League and the Championship, it is extremely disappointing to see Nigel give up the fight.”
Hearn is a well-known sporting events promoter and the founder and chairman of promotions company Matchroom Sport.
The 69-year-old is currently the chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation and has also been chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and Leyton Orient FC in previous years.
And Campbell, who is approaching his 11th year as a Rovers director, thinks Hearn is the right man to take Rugby League forward.
He said: “We now have to move on, however, and I believe Barry Hearn could achieve great things in 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 Corporation 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.”
RFL’s chief operating officer, Ralph Rimmer, will act as interim chief executive while the board begins its search for a successor.