RLEF appoints two new directors

The Rugby League European Federation has appointed two new independent directors to its board; sport engagement manager Mahdi Choudhury and civil engineer Colin Kleyweg.

Choudhury joined the British Olympic Association as a lawyer in 2006 and has worked as part of the TeamGB delegation at the last six Olympic Games, including serving as deputy chef de mission at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and as head of sport operations in Rio two years later.

He is currently acting as TeamGB chef de mission for the upcoming 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, and also serves as a panel member for Sport Resolutions UK, and recently completed a secondment to UK Sport’s international relations team, with the aim of growing specific sports in developing countries.

Kleyweg, who replaces outgoing Director Blagoje Stoiljkovic, is an experienced director of family companies in Australia and Serbia and, amongst a host of industry accolades, is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers. In 2017, he became directly involved in sports management through his financing of Red Star Belgrade Rugby League Club and the setting up of Crveni Kengur Media; a digital, social media and marketing agency specialising in sports broadcasting via online platforms.

“Being appointed as an independent director of the RLEF is a new and exciting opportunity,” said Choudhury. “ Given my previous experience working in elite sport and international relations, I am looking forward to working with the board to help support the RLEF’s members and to continue to grow rugby league in the Northern hemisphere.”

Kleyweg added: “I am committed to the future growth of the sport in Europe through the development of positive branding and by connecting deeply with the communities that we represent. I have experience both inside and outside the game that I genuinely believe can benefit the organisation, and help grow this underrated and under-commercialised sport to give the players the audience they deserve.”

RLEF chairman, Maurice Watkins CBE commented: “We have always been committed to making the board the broadest possible church in terms of background, experience and speciality and we firmly believe that Mahdi and Colin offer us that going forward.

“This is a very exciting time for the game under our jurisdiction with more nations playing, participation and domestic leagues increasing, greater and more accountable governance in place, and a World Cup on the horizon. I’m sure both men will enjoy and rise to the challenge, it is great to have them on board.”