The Rugby Football League’s (RFL) former chief executive Ralph Rimmer and deputy Karen Moorhouse received almost £250,000 ($320,359) in severance payments, which represented nearly a quarter of the governing body’s losses in 2022.
The pair (pictured) departed from their roles at the end of last year after spending over 15 years combined with the organization.
Rimmer was with the RFL for more than 12 years, having joined as chief operating officer in October 2010 before taking over as chief executive in January 2018. Moorhouse was an executive director on the RFL board since 2018 having also been the RFL’s chief regulatory officer since 2017.
Their exit payments, described on the organization’s recently-released financial report as “compensation for loss of office”, came to £245,000.
The sport’s financial position was disclosed earlier this week at the RFL’s annual general meeting (AGM). The RFL had already confirmed losses of £1.02 million, a significant downturn in fortunes from the previous year when the body made a profit of just over £1 million.
The RFL attributed most of the losses to rising insurance costs but the payments to Rimmer and Moorhouse also played a major role in what the governing body described as “unexpected losses.”
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The body had initially budgeted for a profit of around of £394,000 for 2022. However, the rise in insurance premiums, lower-than-expected ticket sales for events such as the Challenge Cup final, and exit payments for Rimmer and Moorhouse, ultimately delivered a seven-figure loss.
The RFL also paid a significant severance fee of more than £300,000 to Rimmer’s predecessor, Nigel Wood, when he left his role as chief executive in 2018.
In March, Tony Sutton was named as Rimmer’s permanent successor as chief executive after initially serving in the role on an interim basis at the start of the year.
As part of a reorganization of its management structure, the RFL now has a smaller executive team which it said will come “at a lower cost than in prior years.”
The RFL’s figures also showed that overall broadcast income decreased from £9.4 million in 2021 to £7.8 million in 2022 when its new contracts with UK pay-TV giant Sky and public-service broadcaster the BBC commenced. This represents a fall of 17%.
At the AGM, the RFL told clubs that negotiations over a new domestic broadcast deal are ongoing, with the current agreement with Sky set to expire at the end of the season.
Sky is understood to be the favorite to retain its long-standing rights for the top-tier Super League but faces competition from rival TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport) and streaming service DAZN.
In 2021, Sky signed a two-year renewal covering the 2022 and 2023 seasons to take the relationship with the RFL to 28 years.
The RFL is hopeful of concluding a deal for 2024 onwards in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, the governing body has re-elected Simon Johnson as its chair until 2026.
Johnson joined the RFL board in July 2014 and became chair in October 2019.
Fellow board member Rimla Akhtar has also been re-elected until 2026. She joined the board in December 2019 and also chairs both the RFL’s audit and risk committee and Rugby League’s inclusion board.
In addition, Lindsay Hoyle will continue as president until December 31, 2024, as the default term of office for president has been extended to two calendar years.
At the Rugby League Council’s next meeting, in December 2023, it will be proposed that Trevor Hunt should succeed Sue Taylor as RFL vice-president for 2024.