Kevin Sinfield: Departing Leeds Rhinos legend to continue fundraising for Rob Burrow and MND Association
Departing director of rugby Kevin Sinfield has pledged to continue his charity work when he leaves Leeds Rhinos at the end of this season.
Speaking to the media after his exit was confirmed, Sinfield revealed he is no longer enjoying his job and feels the time is right for a new challenge.
But the former Leeds captain, who holds a host of club records from his playing days, insisted his “head and heart” will remain in rugby league and with Rhinos.
Sinfield, who will take up a coaching role with rugby union outfit Leicester Tigers, confirmed he is now looking forward to supporting Rhinos from Headingley’s South Stand.
The 40-year-old was made an OBE last week - to go with his earlier MBE - for his charity work.
Sinfield raised more than £2.5m for the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association by running seven marathons in as many days last December.
“There’ll be no change there,” Sinfield said of whether his fund raising, inspired by former teammate Rob Burrow’s battle against MND, will carry on.
“That has been the biggest source of satisfaction and inspiration.
“The work the club and some of our former players have done for Rob and the MND Association will continue.
“The next challenge for me, away from the job, will certainly be wrapped around continuing that.
“It is something I have committed to and something I want to do.”
Sinfield added: “I saw Rob on Monday and we swapped texts [on Wednesday].
More - Kevin Sinfield: Leeds Rhinos legend to leave club at end of season - expected to be confirmed in coaching role at Leicester Tigers“He understands why [Sinfield is leaving] and that my position will not change in respect of fund raising and carrying on raising awareness and trying to help people who are less fortunate than ourselves, in particular, those faced with the struggles and challenges MND brings.”
Sinfield retired as a rugby league player in 2015 and had a season playing union for Yorkshire Carnegie before joining the RFL, where he was head of the England performance unit.
He returned to Rhinos three years ago, but said his job has changed “significantly” over the past 18 months from the one he arrived to do.
He insisted: “I love the club, the place and the people I work with, but I am just not getting enough satisfaction from the role, I haven’t enjoyed it and it’s time for me to embark on a new challenge.”
Of what has changed, Sinfield explained: “It has become very political, a lot of bureaucracy and red tape.
“My role has become very much administration, but not enjoyable administration.
“It has become a role I get no satisfaction from.
“I understand I am fortunate I get to choose, but I do think it is the right thing for everybody.
“The club is in a stable position, it will continue to grow and get better and I will be firmly behind that, supporting.”
Sinfield - whose son Jack plays for Rhinos’ under-17s - has spoken to RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer and World Cup boss Jon Dutton and promised to back the code - and this autumn’s tournament - in any way he can.
“I love the sport,” he stressed.
“It is in my heart and in my head and always will be.”
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