Rugby

Wimbledon boss new RFU chief

2011-12-14 18:57
Ian Ritchie (File)

London - The man responsible for running the Wimbledon tennis championships is to be the new chief executive of England's Rugby Football Union (RFU), the under-fire governing body announced on Wednesday.

Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the All England and Lawn Tennis Club, moves across London with Twickenham in a state of flux following a year of off-field wrangling compounded by a wretched performance at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

The RFU has been without a permanent chief executive since John Steele was forced out in June after a botched attempt to create a new performance director role many thought would go to 2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward.

Then RFU chairman Martyn Thomas was forced to stand down in the ensuing furore and last month he quit as acting RFU chief executive on Tuesday.

He was replaced in the acting role by Stephen Brown, who now reverts to his previous post of RFU chief financial officer.

Ian Metcalfe, the RFU board member who led the recruitment, said of Ritchie: "He was the standout candidate with his combination of business acumen, leadership qualities and background in sports administration.

"We could not have wished for a better candidate who is so highly respected across sport and the business sectors."

Ritchie, also a director of Wembley Stadium and formerly a chief executive of broadcaster Channel Five, said: "I am very proud to be taking up the role of chief executive at the RFU and am excited about the chance to further develop the potential that the RFU and the game offers.

"I believe English rugby has a very bright future, culminating in a once in a lifetime home World Cup in 2015. I am determined to help rugby create a legacy from the tournament that will benefit the sport for generations to come.

"The RFU has great commercial partners and a very sound financial base, underpinning the development of rugby union at grassroots and elite level.

"The decision to leave the AELTC was a difficult one...I know that Wimbledon will continue to go from strength to strength with its exceptional leadership and fantastic management and staff."

The most pressing issue facing Ritchie will be the appointment of a new permanent head coach to succeed Martin Johnson, who resigned after a World Cup where England limped into the quarter-finals, only to lose to France, and several squad members were involved in embarrassing off-field incidents.

A series of leaked reports into England's campaign in New Zealand painted a picture of a divided, poorly led and ill-disciplined squad.

Stuart Lancaster, formerly coach of the reserve team Saxons, has been placed in caretaker charge of the senior side for the defence of England's Six Nations title starting in February.

Read more on:    wimbledon  |  rfu
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
Vote

After 4 rounds of this year's Absa Currie Cup, who's your favourite for the title?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.