Aaron Rodgers versus Tom Brady, Josh Allen versus Patrick Mahomes: it doesn’t get much better than this.
Brett Gosper, the Australian who’s overseen the global growth of rugby union over the past decade as World Rugby’s chief executive, is leaving to join the National Football League (NFL) as the American sporting giant’s head of Europe and UK.
Gosper, who oversaw record-breaking editions of the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and 2019, has been appointed by the NFL to drive the next stage of the league’s growth in Europe.
The 61-year-old from Melbourne, a former Australia under-21 international who spent a decade playing club rugby in France before embarking on his successful career in administration, will step down as World Rugby’s chief in January after nine transformative years.
During that time, he oversaw the introduction of rugby sevens into the Olympics and the delivery of the World Cup in Japan, the first to be staged in Asia.
Now, with regular season games having become a regular feature in the UK. he will have responsibility for the successful execution of NFL business strategy across Britain and Europe, including fan growth, live games and commercial enterprises.
“I feel very privileged to have led a great organisation like World Rugby for the best part of a decade, but I am now ready for a new challenge,” said Gosper, who reckoned it was “a very difficult decision to leave.”
“I am incredibly excited to be joining the very impressive and ambitious team at the NFL and helping the most valuable and watched sports league in the US win even more hearts in Europe and the UK.
“I am proud of what we have achieved together as a rugby family. While I will miss working in the sport, my passion and enthusiasm for what rugby and its values mean to so many will never diminish.”
World Rugby’s chief operating officer Alan Gilpin will perform the role of interim CEO until Gosper’s replacement is appointed.
Gosper, who lives in London, will begin his new role in 2021, with the exact date to be confirmed.