New Sport England chair appointed

Culture secretary Andy Burnham has announced that Richard Lewis, executive chair of the Rugby Football League (RFL), has been appointed as the new chair of Sport England.

Lewis will take up his new position on 1 April for a four-year term, relinquishing his executive duties at the RFL while also stepping down as chair of the Central Council of Physical Recreation's (CCPR) major spectator sports division.

A former director of tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Lewis is also chair of the Rugby League European Federation and deputy chair of the Rugby League International Federation.

Lewis said: "I know the massive benefits sport can bring to millions of people throughout the country and I want more people every year from all walks of life to get involved in sport and experience those benefits.

"As we approach 2012 and a wonderful Olympic and Paralympic Games, more and more opportunities will become available for everyone to become involved in sport."

Jennie Price, Sport England chief executive, said: "Richard's experience of sport at the sharp end – as a player, coach and senior administrator – will be invaluable to Sport England in our drive to deliver a real step change in grassroots sport."

Tim Lamb, CCPR chief executive, added: "Sport England has got some tough targets to meet and it will be vital to have someone who understands sport to make the progress that's required. Richard can hit the ground running, and that will give him a real advantage."

Sport England's current interim chair, Michael Farrar, will continue as a board member at the organisation.