Former RFL chief Ralph Rimmer labelled ‘an outstanding leader for rugby league’ as he receives OBE

Ben Olawumi
Ralph Rimmer

Former RFL chief Ralph Rimmer at the opening game of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup between England and Samoa - Alamy

Former RFL chief Ralph Rimmer has been laude ‘an outstanding leader for rugby league’ having received an OBE in the King’s New Year Honours list.

Rimmer – who joined the sport’s governing body in 2010 – was promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer in 2018 following the departure of predecessor Nigel Wood.

The Cumbria native would depart himself at the end of last year following the delayed 2021 Rugby League World Cup, with his tenure at the top of the RFL not without controversy.

May 2021 saw a u-turn on the revoking of five clubs’ elite academy status, while ahead of the aforementioned World Cup, Rimmer was alleged to have made a racist remark in relation to Fiji, though was cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation.

Having taken up a role working in rugby union midway through this year, he’s now been awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) title, as signed off by King Charles III.

Former RFL chief Ralph Rimmer labelled ‘an outstanding leader for rugby league’ as he receives OBE in King’s New Year Honours list

Prior to joining the RFL, Rimmer held roles at Doncaster and Sheffield Eagles as well as Super League outfit Huddersfield Giants, with the Eagles’ famous 1998 Challenge Cup triumph against Wigan Warriors coming during his time as their Chief Executive.

After last night’s OBE announcement, the 58-year-old has had praise heaped on him by Simon Johnson, who is now the Chair of the RFL.

In a press release on the website of rugby league’s governing body, Johnson said: “Ralph Rimmer has been a passionate advocate of rugby league throughout his decades in the administration of the sport, and that has continued to be the case since he left the RFL last year.

“His period as Chief Executive of the RFL included the COVID pandemic, with the unprecedented challenges it presented to all sports, and Ralph was an outstanding leader for rugby league throughout that period.”

Rimmer himself meanwhile provided a brief comment, adding: “This award is very special to me and I am incredibly grateful to receive it.”

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