Tony Adams to take up role as RFL president

The Arsenal legend is to swap football for rugby league after being nominated as the next president of the sport’s governing body in England

Arsenal legend Tony Adams is set to become the next president of the Rugby Football League (RFL), the governing body has confirmed.

The former England footballer will succeed Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham in the role as a figurehead of the sport in England.

Adams won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups with the Gunners, but it is his work with rugby league’s welfare programmes through the Sporting Chance charity he founded in 2000 that has been key to his appointment. He will become the 29th person to occupy the role.

“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,” said RFL chairman Brian Barwick.

“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.”

Altogether, Adams made over 350 appearances for Arsenal and 66 for England. He is known as one of the best defenders to have ever played for the Gunners and retired in 2002.

Since then he has had stints as a manager at Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth, Gabala and Granada but has struggled to nail down a permanent position in recent years.

The 52-year-old commented on the news of his new role by stating:

“It will be an honour to become the next President of the RFL,”

“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.”

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