Michael Brown, the man behind running the World Cup 2017, resigns

The Chief Executive Officer of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, Michael Brown has resigned from the post.

Brown has also resigned from his role as Chief Commercial Officer for the NRL. He said today he was reluctant to move on from the roles, especially with the World Cup still 15 months away.

“However, the task of taking on two such senior roles – especially away from my home town of Melbourne – has been particularly stressful,” he said.

“The World Cup preparations are well advanced and I am very confident the foundations are in place for a successful tournament.

“The NRL has also put together a strong commercial team to take the game forward so this an appropriate time to step aside.”

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and World Cup Chairman Dr George Peponis said they understood Mr Brown’s positon and had accepted his resignation.

The Board of the 2017 World Cup will consider plans to replace Mr Brown. RLWC Chief Operating Officer, Maria Sykes will be acting CEO in the interim. The NRL’s Head of Commercial, Andrew Abdo will report directly to Mr Greenberg.

However, Fairfax Media in Australia are reporting that Brown was forced to resign after an angry voicemail left in the inbox of Penrith Panthers chief Corey Payne.

Payne wrote a public letter this week asking why Penrith hadn’t been awarded a game for the 2017 tournament and, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, “verbally abused and threatened the Penrith boss”. NRL executives were then made aware of the voicemail, concerned about it given their anti-bullying stance across the organisation.