Super League has a bright and exciting future, says departing chief Robert Elstone

Robert Elstone leaves his position as Executive Chairman of Super League on Friday and says the competition has a bright and exciting future.

Elstone, 57, tendered his resignation last month after less than three years in the post, and survived a vote of no confidence last year.

In a statement, he said: “I am grateful to the Super League Board for giving me the opportunity to do the job I have always wanted and will look back with great pride on what has been achieved since I joined Super League at the start of its new journey, almost three years ago.

“I’d also like to thank colleagues, clubs, coaches and players, and our great partners for their unswerving commitment to Super League. They have made my time at Super League enjoyable and fulfilling and I leave with many wonderful memories.

“Rugby League will always be in my blood and, just as I have always believed for as long as I can remember, it has a bright and exciting future. I look forward to watching that unfold.”

Elstone, a one-time Castleford director, was recruited by Super League clubs dissatisfied by the RFL to head up a rival administration to prioritise the distribution of central income generated by the top flight.

His priority was to negotiate a new television deal, with the current contract with Sky Sports due to run out at the end of the 2021 season, and to bring in extra revenue.

However, clubs rejected a proposal from private equity firm Novalpina Capital thought to have been worth £61million in return for giving up a 27 per cent stake and officials are also bracing themselves for a reduction in TV income.

Plans to sell to a stake in Super League would have needed unanimous support but Leeds, St Helens, Warrington and Leigh were all thought to have voted against and now the league is facing a bill for a finders fee of around £750,000.

Clubs were also split over the decision to decline Toronto Wolfpack’s application to rejoin Super League in 2021, a move strongly advocated by Elstone.

A spokesman for the Super League board said: “Super League would like to thank Robert for the commitment and energy he has brought to the role of executive chairman.

“His undoubted passion for the game of rugby league has always been clear and he has worked hard to increase the success of Super League. We wish him every success in his future endeavours.”

1 Comment

  1. Whoever is in charge next needs to get a massive investor involved, and relaunch superleague before it falls out of the public eye forever.

    The man city owners, Mike Ashley etc need to take over, and pay whatever it takes to broadcast evening games on terrestrial TV.

    Even if it’s just one game a week on BBC or ITV as a loss maker, surely Sky can see the benefit of releasing exclusive rights for the greater good of public exposure?

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