Interim chairman Ken Davy aims to re-align Super League with RFL

Super League’s interim chairman Ken Davy says his aim is to re-align the organisation with the Rugby Football League.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 1:43 pm
Ken Davy

The veteran Huddersfield businessman is stepping into the void created by the departure in February of Robert Elstone as executive chairman and says he will provide a steadying influence before handing over the reigns to a successor.

Davy – speaking at a media briefing on zoom – says his priority is to deliver a new commercial and marketing strategy in tandem with the game’s governing body, but stressed this does not mean a reunification.

Dissatisfied Super League clubs broke away from the RFL in 2018 and set up their own organisation, led by Elstone, to maximise revenue, largely through the television deal with Sky, and Davy says that position will remain largely unchanged.

“I have a very clear objective, which is to meet with the Betfred Super League clubs and the RFL to create a lasting framework which enables us to unlock the massive potential which I believe exists within Super League and the whole sport of rugby league,” Davy said.

“However, this does not mean going back to how it was a few years before.

“The Betfred Super League clubs are the jewel in the crown of the game and I do believe it’s vitally important that the re-alignment recognises this.”

Davy, who turns 80 in July, is the longest-serving chairman in Super League, having been in control of Huddersfield since 1996, but will hand over duties at the Giants to Keith Hellawell – a former Chief Constable for West Yorkshire – to enable him to focus on his new role.

He says it is too early to discuss a permanent successor but insists his appointment is temporary.

“I have set a target of three months, possibly a bit longer, but in no sense is this a permanent position,” he said.

Davy spoke of the need for Super League to do more to promote and widen the appeal of the game and promised more transparency, even taking the unusual step of reading out his mobile number to journalists on the call.

“When it comes down to it, it is all about the game and the players, we shouldn’t be talking about men in suits,” he said.

“I’d like to bring greater transparency and openness to the business of Super League.”

Davy told the briefing that negotiations with Sky on a new TV deal are nearing a conclusion and that he is resigned to accepting an offer below the current agreement, which is thought to be worth £40million a year and expires at the end of the season.

“I think it’s fairly common knowledge that no one is expecting it to go up,” he said.

“The ink isn’t dry yet but it’s in the final stages. We have a very strong relationship with Sky and it’s one that we are continuing with.”