Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone has notified the league of his intention to leave his position.
Elstone, the former Everton chief executive who had been in the role since June 2018, survived a vote of no confidence only last November.
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In a short statement, the league said: “Super League can confirm that it has received notice of Executive Chairman, Robert Elstone’s, intention to leave his position.
“The matter will be discussed by the Super League Board and no further comment will be made at this time.”
The news comes during what has been a challenging time for the league and its member clubs amid the current coronavirus pandemic.
Elstone was recruited by Super League clubs dissatisfied by the running of the game by the Rugby Football League (RFL) to head up a rival administration to prioritise the distribution of central income generated by the top flight.
Clubs were also divided over the decision to decline Toronto Wolfpack’s application to rejoin Super League in 2021, a move strongly advocated by Elstone.
Elstone’s departure now looks certain to spark fresh moves to merge the two governing bodies.
Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington went out on a limb in 2017 when the majority of Super League clubs voted to break away from the RFL, a move he described as an “absurd grab for power for the game by a small group of men who think they own the game”.
St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus was a big supporter of Elstone but has since aligned himself with Hetherington’s views.
Rugby League officials have also come under pressure to reunify the game by the Government, who have made a total of £28m available in loans to offset the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wigan training ground closed after multiple positive coronavirus tests
Wigan have become the third Super League club to close their training ground following a number of positive Covid-19 tests.
Leeds and Huddersfield had previously closed their training facilities following positive tests, but both have since re-opened.
Following the latest round of testing on Monday morning, Warriors’ Robin Park Arena training ground will be closed for 10 days.
Those who tested positive will self-isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days as per government guidelines and the club say Public Health England has been informed.
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