Bill Sweeney CEO England Rugby Football Union

Bill Sweeney’s achievements in blue chip business and elite sport saw him appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Rugby Football Union in May 2019, after serving nearly six years as Chief Executive Officer at the British Olympic Association.

A record-breaking London 2012 Olympic Games preceded Team GB becoming the first nation to win more medals in the following Rio 2016 Olympic Games, when they came second in the medal table. During Bill’s tenure, Team GB also delivered best-ever performances at two consecutive Winter Olympic Games.

  • He left a very strong British Olympic Association, both financially and in readiness for Tokyo 2020.
  • His earlier business career included senior roles at adidas and Puma, and corporate management with Shell, Mars and Unilever.
  • Although a lifelong rugby supporter, Bill was initially a schoolboy footballer at Chelsea FC and then English Universities captain.
  • He switched to rugby first with Aberdeenshire RFC and then Abu Dhabi, Rosslyn Park FC and Weybridge Vandals RFC. He now has strong connections at Richmond FC.

Chief Executive

  • World Rugby Representative
  • EPCR Representative
  • Six Nations Representative
  • British & Lions Representative
  • Appointed 1 May 2019
  • Bill is not considered independent for the purposes of the Sport England Code for Sports Governance

The England Rugby Football Union (RFU)

The England Rugby Football Union (RFU) is the governing body for rugby union in England. It is responsible for the promotion, development, and organization of the sport at all levels within the country. The RFU oversees the national teams, including the England men’s and women’s senior teams, as well as various age-grade and representative teams.

Key responsibilities of the RFU include:

  1. National Teams: The RFU is in charge of selecting and managing the England national rugby teams for men and women. These teams compete in various international competitions, such as the Six Nations Championship, Rugby World Cup, and other test matches.
  2. Domestic Competitions: The RFU oversees domestic rugby competitions in England, including the top-tier Gallagher Premiership, Championship, and various cup competitions. They work with clubs to ensure the smooth running of these leagues.
  3. Player Development: The RFU is actively involved in player development at all levels, from grassroots to elite. They support coaching programs, youth development, and talent identification to ensure a steady supply of skilled players.
  4. Refereeing and Officiating: The RFU is responsible for training and appointing referees and match officials for rugby matches in England. This includes ensuring the highest standards of officiating at all levels of the game.
  5. Facilities and Infrastructure: The RFU works on developing and maintaining rugby facilities across the country. This includes supporting clubs and schools in upgrading their facilities to meet the required standards.
  6. Community Engagement: The RFU is involved in promoting rugby as a sport for all, fostering community engagement, and encouraging participation at various levels. This includes initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion within the sport.

The England national rugby teams, particularly the men’s team, have a rich history and are among the top-performing teams in international rugby. Twickenham Stadium in London is the home of England rugby and is a significant venue for international and domestic matches. The RFU plays a crucial role in ensuring the continued growth and success of rugby union in England.

Princess of Wales Patron of the Rugby Football Union

The patronage, which has been given to The Duchess by Her Majesty The Queen, closely aligns with Her Royal Highness’ longstanding passion for sport and the lifelong benefits it can provide, both within our communities and on an individual level.

“It is a great honour to welcome The Duchess of Cambridge as our Patron,” said RFU CEO Bill Sweeney. “Our aim is to enrich lives, introduce more people to rugby union, develop the sport for future generations and create a successful thriving game across the country.

“As rugby clubs have re-opened across the country, players, officials and volunteers are celebrating being back in the game together, and we know the support of The Duchess will be greatly valued from our grassroots clubs and fast-growing women and girls’ game, right up to our elite men’s and women’s England teams.”

Alongside the RFU, The Duchess has also been named Patron of the Rugby Football League.

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