RFL back Pearson’s Hull FC takeover UPDATED

Adam Pearson. PIC: PA
Adam Pearson. PIC: PA
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The Rugby Football League have given their blessing to former Hull City chairman Adam Pearson’s takeover of Hull FC.

Pearson, now the head of football operations at Hull City, today became the sole owner of the Super League club after buying the entire stake from the previous shareholders and has pledged to invest cash to turn the team into a major force.

“On behalf of the RFL I would like to welcome Adam Pearson to the sport and congratulate him on the beginning of what I’m sure will be an exciting new chapter in the history of Hull FC,” said RFL chief executive Nigel Wood after the board gave their approval for the transfer of ownership.

“The former directors at Hull FC did a terrific job to establish the club as one of the most successful in Engage Super League and I am sure Mr Pearson, with all his experience in sports administration, will continue that sterling work.

“It’s always good to welcome new investors to rugby league and Mr Pearson’s arrival is recognition of the viability of the sport as an investment opportunity, as well as proof of its continued appeal to both the public and the business community alike.

“The timing of today’s announcement could not be better and I would like to wish Mr Pearson all the best as he prepares for his first match as chairman with Sunday’s televised Carnegie Challenge Cup quarter-final against Leeds Rhinos at KC Stadium.”

The takeover brings to an end 12 years of control by a five-strong board of directors led by chairwoman Kath Hetherington, although Pearson will leave the day-to-day running of the club to James Rule, who will remain in his post as chief executive.

Hetherington said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my association with Hull FC and I leave with great memories.

“I feel that we had taken the club as far as we could and I think that Adam Pearson is the man to inject fresh impetus and assist in driving the club forward.

“The fact that James Rule remains as chief executive, supported by finance director Tony Sutton and community/marketing director Jon Flatman, means it will facilitate a smooth transition.”

Pearson, 46, formerly commercial director at Leeds United and one-time Derby chairman, made an unsuccessful attempt to take over Hull FC in 2002.

Formerly head of the stadium management company which operates the KC Stadium, Pearson intends to work closely with Hull’s arch-rivals Hull KR as well as the football club, but ruled out any possibility of a merger.

Two months ago Hull City’s owner Assem Allam, a local businessman, donated more than £1million to the Robins.

“We will be seeing a new era of unity in sport in Hull and I intend to work in harmony with the other sporting clubs in the city,” said Pearson.

“I fully understand the intense rivalry with Hull KR. We want to beat them but we want to do so with a bit of mutual respect.

“Likewise we are looking forward to an era of constructive partnership with our partners at the KC stadium.

“What the Allam family have done for Hull City I will attempt to replicate at Hull FC with strong financial management and investment.

“There are aspects of rugby I need to get up to speed on but I know there are two franchises and two clubs and that will remain forever more.

“Hopefully at boardroom level we will have synergy and can work on projects that can cut costs.”

Hull are currently eighth in Super League and take on Leeds at the KC Stadium on Sunday for a place in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.

Pearson intends to meet with head coach Richard Agar tomorrow to discuss team matters.