Paul Sewell outlines reasons for joining Hull KR as new chairman

IMG’S involvement in Rugby League has been cited as one of the major factors in the decision of Hull KR’s new chairman to join the club.

The Robins last week announced that Paul Sewell, the chair of East Hull-based company Sewell Group, will lead a new board, with “further additions from business and sport” to come.

Sports media giant IMG have proposed to shake up the game, with places in Super League determined by off-field criteria, which they hope incentivises clubs to seek investment.

And Sewell, whose business already has the naming rights to the Craven Park home that Hull KR purchased earlier this year, is on board with their direction.

“One of the main things that attracted me is the revitalisation of the game itself through Super League’s association with worldwide sporting giant IMG,” he said.

Sewell has also been impressed with the direction taken by the club since Paul Lakin returned as chief executive in 2020.

He added: “Being a rising club in a declining game is counter-intuitive to me, so I’m heartened that, through Paul Lakin, Hull KR have been at the centre of driving this change and modernisation as a local club, owned and controlled in Hull, by Hull, for Hull.

“My life has been about creating businesses and building their teams and culture – you need this for sustainable success. 

“This is a wonderful club with thoroughly decent people, so I hope I can help Neil (Hudgell, owner) and Paul get the fans that they deserve.

“This board will not be interfering with the playing side – that will be left to the head coach and his team, supported by the chief executive. 

“Our role is to concentrate on developing the business to be sustainable long into the future.”

Lakin said: “Both Neil and I knew there was no better time for us to attract a top-drawer chair and board to support us in taking the club to the next level.

“We are truly honoured that Paul, a man with an outstanding business pedigree, has accepted the position. 

“In the coming days and weeks we aim to announce other exciting appointments and we are continuing to work to identify individuals of the highest calibre who share our vision for Hull KR.”

Meanwhile, Super League rivals Wakefield Trinity are also seeking fresh investment in anticipation of IMG’s changes to the sport.

The goal of challenging for ‘Grade A’ status under their proposed structure was cited by the club’s directors as they made a public call for investors to claim ‘owner shares’.

Wakefield are also offering the chance for supporters “interested in investing relatively modest amounts” to buy ‘member shares’, starting at £500.

Chairman John Minards said: “As we move forward towards establishing ourselves with Grade A status and a permanent position in Super League, which is absolutely our aim, on and off the field, we want to reach out to the community of Wakefield and beyond to say ‘join us on our journey’.”