Red Star Belgrade chief becomes RLEF director

James Gordon

One of the men behind the ambitious Red Star Belgrade rugby league club has been appointed an independent director of the Rugby League European Federation.

Colin Kleyweg, a civil engineer, is an experienced director of family companies in Australia and Serbia and is the main financier behind the Serbian club, as well as a specialist sports online streaming company.

He replaces the outgoing Blagoje Stoiljkovic.

Kleyweg said: “I am committed to the future growth of the sport in Europe through the development of positive branding and by connecting deeply with the communities that we represent.

“I have experience both inside and outside the game that I genuinely believe can benefit the organisation, and help grow this underrated and under-commercialised sport to give the players the audience they deserve.”

Another independent director has also joined the RLEF board, former British Olympic Association lawyer Mahdi Choudhury.

RLEF chairman, Maurice Watkins CBE, said: “We have always been committed to making the board the broadest possible church in terms of background, experience and speciality and we firmly believe that Mahdi and Colin offer us that going forward.

“This is a very exciting time for the game under our jurisdiction with more nations playing, participation and domestic leagues increasing, greater and more accountable governance in place, and a World Cup on the horizon. I’m sure both men will enjoy and rise to the challenge, it is great to have them on board.”

The RLEF board can be made up of between four and seven members – including a seat each for the RFL and French Rugby Federation, two seats as voted by the Membership and three seats reserved for independent directors.