Everton Football Club has confirmed the departure of Robert Elstone to take up the role as chief executive of Super League.
The wide rumoured appointment is yet to be confirmed by the RFL or Super League, but in a press release announcing their executive leadership restructure, the move was revealed by Everton.
Elstone, 54, is a Castleford fan and worked for the club on plans for a new stadium development in 2009. He has been at Everton since 2005, and has been chief executive for the last nine years.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright told the club’s official website: “We are sad to see Robert leave the Club and wish him nothing but success. Robert has obviously been a passionate Evertonian since the day he first set foot here, but I have always known that his enduring love has been Rugby League. And we wish him well in his new role leading his favourite sport.”
There continues to be a power struggle within rugby league as Super League clubs look to move to an independent future and it is likely from next season, the running of the top flight will be led by Elstone and his team.
The RFL have recently advertised for a new chief executive themselves, a role currently being fulfilled on an interim basis by Ralph Rimmer following the departure of Nigel Wood.
But internal politics appear to be impacting the running of rugby league as both the RFL and the clubs fight for power.
The fact that this move is yet to be announced formally by the RFL is perhaps another indication of the continuing struggle.
There has still been no formal confirmation of plans for the structure of the game in 2019, which had initially been promised by Wood to be announced prior to the 2018 season.
Meanwhile, the RFL’s marketing director Mark Foster tweeted a photo earlier on Tuesday of Rimmer with Barry Hearn.
It’s not the first time that top RFL officials have met with the Hearns as they continue to be linked with involvement with rugby league.
— Mark Foster (@foster_mark) May 15, 2018
Foster tweeted a similar picture of Rimmer, this time with Hearn’s son Eddie, back in February.