PRESS RELEASE: Dr Rimla Akhtar MBE joins ​new-look Rugby Football League Board

Dr Rimla Akhtar MBE has been appointed as a Non-Executive Director of a reshaped / new-look Rugby Football League (RFL) Board.

Dr Rimla Akhtar MBE is highly regarded for her work in leadership and governance in sport as well as her role as an Inclusion and Diversity specialist. She was elected as the first Muslim and Asian woman on the FA Council in 2014 and was ranked 14th in the 2018 Forbes global list of The Most Powerful Women in Sport. Rimla is a Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and has she has almost two decades of experience in the sports industry across the UK, Middle East and Asia. She is a Board member of the Sports Ground Safety Authority and is also a UEFA Match Delegate. Rimla was formerly on the Board of Kick it Out.

On the field, she captained the British Muslim Women’s Futsal team. 

“This is an exciting time to become a member of the RFL Board.  Whether it’s the World Cup in 2021 and its legacy, the huge potential for growth in the women’s game, or the way that this sport reaches communities that other sports do not, there are so many opportunities to grow the game from grassroots through to professional.  Having followed rugby league for a number of years and now having had the opportunity to meet those who have dedicated much of their lives to the game, I’m honoured and cannot wait to help shape the future for this sport that is loved by everyone who engages with it.” Rimla Akhtar MBE.

Rimla is also the founder of RimJhim Consulting, a global consultancy that engages diverse communities through the medium of sport. The team are currently running the Get On Board Programme – supported by Sport England together with global executive search firm, Perrett Laver and a consortium of training partners to prepare 13 women for board level positions. The initiative, aimed at high achieving BAME women lasts 10-months and offers support from a high-level mentor, targeted seminars, a range of professional training and access to insider knowledge on the sports industry. 

“I’ve learned much throughout my journey thus far within the sports leadership landscape. I now want to help others by creating a support network to the top”, Rimla Akhtar MBE. 

Rimla’s selection to the RFL comes at a moment of change, having recently selected Simon Johnson as Chair of the Board and another new Non-Executive Director, Sandy Lindsay MBE.

The appointments will be presented for ratification to December’s meeting of the Rugby League Council.

//: ENDS

Notes to Editors:

About RimJhim Consulting:

RimJhim Consulting, led by Rimla Akhtar MBE, is a global consultancy that engages diverse communities through the medium of sport. The team works with industry professionals in the worlds of business, sports, government and community to deliver expertise in sport-facing strategic and practical initiatives. 

Read a feature about Rimla in The Telegraph here

Find out more about what we do here

About Rugby Football League:

The Rugby Football League (RFL) is the national governing body for Rugby League in the UK and is committed to developing and growing Rugby League at all levels.

The RFL administers the England Performance Unit which comprises six national teams; the Great Britain Rugby League Lions team; the Coral Challenge Cup and Women’s Coral Challenge Cup, the Betfred Rugby League Championship and Betfred League 1, the Women’s Super League, and also supports and administers the grassroots game. 

The team, based in Salford and Leeds, is focused on excellence in coaching and development and helping more players start, stay and succeed in the nation’s most exciting summer sport. 

The RFL works in partnership with leagues, clubs and Rugby League Foundations to offer new ways to play, from Play Touch Rugby League to Wheelchair RL. Together, the sport is working hard to inspire and develop the next generation of young players and fans. 


For further information, please contact Programme Manager Sarah Mehrali on 079 2136 1756 or email David Conner may also be contacted at the RFL on 07734207971 or  email

For more details on other programmes run by RimJhim Consulting please visit

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