RALPH Rimmer has been confirmed as the Rugby Football League's new chief executive officer on a permanent basis, the governing body have announced.

Former Ulverston player and coach Rimmer had been serving in the role for the organisation on an interim basis since January following previous incumbent Nigel Wood's decision to step down.

But the RFL's former chief operating officer has now been appointed as chief executive on a full-time basis following a lengthy recruitment process and is excited for what the future holds, despite the challenges facing the sport.

“I am thrilled to be appointed as CEO of the Rugby Football League,” said Rimmer, who grew up near Grange and who had trials for Barrow at one point. “I am passionate about the sport and I am honoured to hold this position.

“I have always taken my responsibilities within the sport extremely seriously, and I take up this role with a 100 per cent commitment to driving rugby league forward.

“I have very many strong relationships within the game and I intend to work collaboratively with all to achieve its future growth and success.

“I believe that I understand its changing landscape, and am hugely ambitious as to what we can achieve together in the future, including maximising the significant opportunities presented by a home World Cup in 2021. I am convinced that exciting times lie ahead.”

Along with playing and coaching at Dragley Beck, Rimmer's career in rugby league includes a spell as Ireland national team manager, as chief executive of Sheffied Eagles and serving on the board at Huddersfield Giants prior to joining the RFL eight years ago.

Confirmation of Rimmer's appointment follows the 2021 Rugby League World Cup team announcing details of the £10m ‘Inspired by RLWC2021’ Legacy Facilities Fund for grassroots Rugby League.

And RFL chairman Brian Barwick has backed Rimmer as the perfect person to take both the sport and the organisation forward.

“I am absolutely delighted that Ralph is to become the new chief executive of the Rugby Football League,” said Barwick, a former Mail sports writer. “Ralph is a rugby league man through and through and has extensive knowledge of the sport at every level.

“He is a person of enormous integrity, a straight-talker and somebody who gets things done. He also has the respect of those in the sport for regularly demonstrating those qualities. He is the right person at the right time to be the executive in charge of our organisation.

“Ralph has huge ambitions for the future of the sport as well as dealing with the 'here and now' issues of the game.”