Wales Rugby League have appointed Cardiff born and based Gareth Kear as their new Chief Executive Officer.
It is the governing body’s first permanent appointment following Chris Thair’s departure to the Rugby League European Federation last year, and follows a long exhaustive search for the right person.
Kear, 58, has a long history of involvement of both sport and business in Wales.
He played first class rugby union for a number of sides including Pontypool, and also Rhiwbina RFC before becoming player coach at Pentyrch RFC, leading them to promotion.
After achieving senior level 3 coaching status, he moved on to coach the Wales women’s national rugby union side’s between 2000-2002 taking them to the World Cup as Team manager in Spain in 2002. As Head coach of the Cardiff Blue U16s he lead them to the Inaugural Reebok final in 2005.
In addition, during the 1980s, he played American Football for both Cardiff Tigers and Cardiff Mets, was a Great Britain international and captained them to victory over Australia in 1988.
His involvement in rugby league began in 2007 when he was appointed as assistant coach to the Wales U16 side. He then took a role assisting in marketing and sponsorship promoting Wales Rugby League and the 2013 Rugby League World Cup – a competition his own son Elliot played in.
Commercially, he is an experienced operations and sales director working for global companies such as Creditsafe and Innovantage.
Kear is also a qualified UK Anti-doping sports educator and has already launched an initiative for all parents on the elite player pathways to attend a presentation on anti-doping and also on concussion (brain injury awareness), making Wales Rugby League the first national governing body to do so. This programme will be rolled out to all community clubs, schools and national sides.
He said: “I have a passion for all sport and especially Rugby League because it’s always been open and inclusive to all parts of the community.
“Working with our strategic partners, Sport Wales, Rugby League can help make us a more active nation and provide a lifelong enjoyment of sport for everyone because it’s simple to learn, fast to play and in my opinion safer.”
Wales Rugby League’s chairman Brian Juliff said: “I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Gareth Kear to the role of Chief Executive Officer at Wales Rugby League.
“Gareth brings a lifetime of experience with the oval ball in a variety of leadership and guidance positions in Union, American Football and most importantly Rugby League.
“His coaching expertise and knowledge of development pathways will strengthen our focus on providing opportunity to the plethora of young talented players coming through our age group systems in Wales.
“Added to this is his knowledge of educating players, coaches and family members regarding the vital area of health and safety in the sport.
“This is an all encompassing, and a very important appointment for the future growth in participation and awareness of our game across Wales.
“I wish Gareth every success and look forward to building a progressive relationship over the coming years. Cymru am byth.”