Rugby League ‘visionary’ Maurice Lindsay dies

Maurice Lindsay (courtesy Wigan Warriors)

Maurice Lindsay, former chairman of Wigan Warriors Rugby League club, has died, aged 81.

Mr Lindsay joined Wigan in 1980 and went on to lead the club through a period of transformation which included winning eight consecutive Challenge Cups.

He was responsible for recruiting some of the biggest names in Wigan’s history including Ellery Hanley, Brett Kenny and Martin Offiah.

Mr Lindsay also served on the board of Wigan Athletic FC under former owner Dave Whelan, and was chairman of Preston North End FC for a short time.

A Wigan Warriors statement said: “He was respected and admired throughout the world of Rugby League and will be forever remembered as a visionary – proposing the Super League which changed the face of Rugby League forever.

“Wigan Warriors sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Maurice at this very sad time.”

Mr Lindsay joined Wigan in 1980, as the owner of a contractors plant hire company and also a bookmaker.

He also became team manager of the Great Britain RL team. He was manager when the team toured New Zealand in 1990 and Australia in 1992. He was also elected as president of the Rugby Football League in 1992.

After leaving Wigan Warriors he became chief executive of the RFL in 1992, proposing the Super League which eventually replaced the First Division Championship as the sport’s elite league competition in the UK from 1996 onwards.

Mr Lindsay re-joined the club when they moved from Central Park to move to the home of Wigan Athletic FC, the then JJB Stadium, after local businessman Dave Whelan had saved them from liquidation.

Mr Whelan appointed Lindsay to the Wigan Athletic board in 2000, and in 2008 the FA Premier League elected Lindsay onto the FA Council.

In February 2009, he became chairman of Racecourse Data Technologies (RDT), which had contracts to supply and support computerised betting systems to every racecourse in the UK and Ireland.

The company holds contracts with Satellite Information Services (SiS) and Turf TV to supply data. RDT subsequently secured a contract with the British Horseracing Authority to act as contractors in support of its race day computer operations.

In June 2010 Mr Lindsay replaced Derek Shaw as chairman of Preston North End FC. He resigned from the role in December 2011 after battling septicaemia following knee surgery.