BARLA pioneer Maurice Oldroyd dies aged 87

BARLA pioneer Maurice Oldroyd has died at the age of 87.

One of rugby league’s unsung heroes, Oldroyd was born in 1935 and went on to have an incredible career in the sport.

Playing first for Crosland Moor then Underbank Rangers after a spell in rugby union, Oldroyd became a referee at the age of 28.

In 1973, the pioneer was selected to referee the RFL’s youth team against the Australian Schoolboys, but that was the same year that the amateur game split from the governing body, the RFL.

BARLA was formed by a majority vote of all the amateur leagues at Huddersfield’s Greenside Working Men’s Club with Oldroyd chosen at the head.

The RFL ended up accepting BARLA after previously rejecting the new entity, with the Pennine League being formed a decade later.

Oldroyd’s achievements didn’t end there either as the Yorkshireman was at the forefront of a grant for £2000 from the Sports Council to take the amateur international team to France, with tours of the Pacific Island and Australia and New Zealand soon following.

Free movement of amateur players across both codes after rugby union’s refusal was one of Oldroyd’s major successes before the Queen opened BARLA’s new offices in Huddersfield in a royal twist in 1991.

Oldroyd also served for 22 years on the International Rugby League Board between 1978 and 2000 and was awarded the Rugby League International Federation Spirit of Rugby League Award in 2013.

Everyone at League Express passes on their sincere condolences to Maurice’s friends and family.