Dave Smith steps down From NRL CEO role

NRL CEO Dave Smith has resigned his post at the helm of Rugby League in Australia.

Smith has only served in the role for a total of three years, when he was surprisingly chosen to replace former CEO David Gallop, despite not having any Rugby League knowledge. Smith was the first person to lead the Australia Rugby League Commission.

His time as CEO was full of scrutiny, however, with Smith losing the support of a number of Clubs, particularly in more recent times due to his alleged failure to negotiate with Fox Sports in regards to the new Television rights deal that is to take place from 2018. Smith instead signed a deal worth $925million with channel Nine, a figure many believe should have been higher.

The NRL have also been criticised for their seeming lack of ability to increase crowd numbers over the last few years, choosing instead to focus on TV ratings.

While Smith may have a tarnished record in the role, he also will be remembered for a number of positive changes to the game. Smith was instrumental in brokering a deal with Touch Football Australia that saw the alternate sporting option now played under the NRL banner, expanding the games participation to previously unseen numbers year round. His time as CEO also allowed the Video referee bunker to be brought about, an innovation to be introduced from next season.

It is understood Smith will remain in the role until 30th of November. The NRL will undertake a thorough and global search for the next person to take charge of the game.

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