Tony Adams, the former England and Arsenal captain, will become the new president of the Rugby Football League next year.
The sport’s governing body announced that Adams will replace current president Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, in the summer of 2019.
Adams has built a strong relationship with the RFL through the Sporting Chance charity he founded in 2000, and RFL chairman Brian Barwick said his appointment was a “significant step” in the game’s recognition of the importance of mental health.
Sporting Chance, which became official partners of the RFL in 2011, has helped more than 400 rugby league players in the last seven years, Barwick said.
“Tony Adams is known and respected throughout sport and beyond, not only for his outstanding playing career with Arsenal, but more recently for his pioneering work with Sporting Chance,” Barwick said.
“The charity has helped more than 400 rugby league players since the RFL entered into an official partnership with Sporting Chance in 2011, and Tony himself delivered seminars at Wigan and Hull earlier this year.
“The game has recognised the importance of mental health, for players and everyone else involved, and Tony’s election is another significant step in that regard.”
Adams founded Sporting Chance, which provides support and counselling for former sportsmen and women, as a result of his own experiences with alcoholism. The role of president is more ambassadorial than administrative, and Adams will not be involved in law-making in the sport.
“It will be an honour to become the next president of the RFL,” Adams said. “I am passionate about working with everyone in the sport to raise the profile of mental health, wellness and resilience, for players and for everyone in Rugby League. I’d like to play my part in championing this brilliant sport on the national stage.”
The former Arsenal defender, who made 66 appearances for England, has managed Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth, Azerbaijani side Gabala and Spanish team Granada since his retirement.
First published: www.telegraph.co.uk, written by Sam Dean, 12 December 2018