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Clare Balding to be appointed RFL president

Television presenter Clare Balding will take over as Rugby Football League president next summer, succeeding ex-England football captain Tony Adams.

Broadcaster and author Balding, 48, is the 30th appointee and will be supported by Hull KR chief executive Mike Smith as vice-president.

Smith has been at Craven Park since 2010, and also served Skirlaugh RLFC.

"I am so proud to be asked to help promote the wonderful sport of rugby league." Balding said.

"I am particularly thrilled to be involved as we head to the Rugby League World Cup in 2021, the first major inter­national sports event to embrace the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments together."

Balding has previously been involved in the BBC's coverage of rugby league, presenting the Challenge Cup and inter­national output for television.

Rugby Football League chair Simon Johnson added: "Our sport has been enhanced by having so many distin­gu­ished bearers of the offices of president and vice-president - Tony Adams and Carl Hall are proving to be superb office holders this year.

"We are delighted that the members of the Rugby League Council have agreed wholehe­ar­tedly with our recom­men­dation that Clare Balding and Mike Smith will be fitting successors in 2020-21.

"Clare's profile and popularity, coupled with her authentic love of the sport, will be a huge asset to rugby league as we look forward to hosting three World Cups - Men's, Women's and Wheelchair - in England in 2021."

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