The appointment of Robert Elstone as the new chief executive of Super League is a first critical step to produce a bigger and brighter future for the sport.
This is the firm belief of Saints’ chairman Eamonn McManus who made his views known publicly in his capacity as a Super League director when Mr Elstone was officially introduced to the press at a special media conference yesterday (Tuesday).
Mr McManus said: “Robert’s proven professional background at the highest levels of sport, the media and commerce is complemented by a burning passion for, and deep knowledge of, our sport. I have never known clubs to be more unified and to have such a sense of purpose to improve the quality, performance and value of Super League.
“To achieve this we must have a dedicated senior professional staff whose only focus is to improve Super League in every respect, and alsoto work with our governing body, the RFL, in ensuring that the wider game benefits consequently.
“The vast majority of Super League clubs strongly believe that the previous singular and overreaching management of the RFL of all aspects and all components of rugby league, including Super League, resulted in too many serious conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency and adequate accountability.
“This has resulted in a consequent commercial under performance of the principal commercial driver of our sport, namely Super League.”
He added: “Very constructive discussions have taken place between the boards of Super League and of the RFL in recent months. The RFL recognises that a new and more focused approach will be adopted by Super League and that a new direction of travel has justifiable merit.
“We continue our collaborative approach with the RFL in the interests of both Super League and rugby league.
“The appointment of a new, highly capable, respected and experienced senior executive in Robert represents a first and critical step to produce a bigger, better and brighter future for Super League. He and his team will be dedicated to improving every aspect of Super League, including higher playing standards, a better spectacle, more spectators, more and better commercial partners and a higher media valuation.
“He has the full support of the board of Super League who appointed him, and who are absolutely confident in him and in the dedicated focus which he will bring to our business.
“Our vision and strategy will be unashamedly Super League led, as it is by far the principal commercial driver and fund of our sport: it needs to be strengthened and maximised. A dedicated management, led by Robert, is critical to the delivery of a thriving and more strongly funded Super League which in turn will benefit the wider game.”