Wenty Leagues president Ian McCann.

Wenty Leagues president Ian McCann has been appointed as the new chairman of Leagues Clubs Australia (LCA).

McCann, who has been the LCA vice chair, steps into the role following the passing of LCA’s long-time chair Peter Hardgrove in December.

McCann has expressed his gratitude about the appointment.

“It’s a great honour for me personally, but more importantly it is recognition of what the industry thinks of Wenty Leagues as a club and the job our board is doing,” he said.

“It’s a privilege to be entrusted with this leadership role by my peers within the association. I am excited to work alongside fellow members and industry leaders to continue advancing the interests of leagues clubs across Australia.”

McCann has been a member of the Western Sydney club for over 30 years, and throughout his time he has represented the football club as a player, coach, and administrator.

LCA chief executive Don Hammond acknowledged McCann’s appointment was a good decision by the LCA board.

“Ian has industry knowledge as he has been on the Wenty Leagues Board since 2007 and chairman since 2009. He has been on the LCA Board since 2013 and was the incumbent vice chairman prior to his being elected by the LCA board to the position of chairman following the passing of longtime chair Peter Hardgrove,” he said.

“Ian also has a long association with the game of Rugby League having played First Grade for the Balmain Tigers and then going on to play, coach and hold administration roles with Wenty Leagues.”

In his new role, McCann said he will be working alongside the LCA board to keep providing member clubs support and representation in what are “challenging times at all levels in club land”.

“As I step into the role of chairman of Leagues Club Australia, my foremost priority is to ensure that the interests of member clubs are strongly represented and advocated for at all levels of government and industry,” he said. 

“It’s about recognising the vital role leagues clubs play within both the hospitality and sporting communities. I am committed to fostering a cooperative and collaborative environment among member clubs, promoting knowledge-sharing and best practices.

“Additionally, I will focus on addressing key industry issues, such as regulatory changes and responsible gaming practices, to ensure the long-term sustainability and success of leagues clubs across Australia. Ultimately, my goal is to strengthen the position of leagues clubs as integral contributors to both the rugby league community and the broader Australian society.”

He believes that leagues clubs continue to play a vital role in communities.

“Leagues clubs continue to be an integral part of their communities in both city and rural areas, providing opportunities for members to meet, play sport (not just league), and provide thousands of employment opportunities,” McCann said.

“Over the years, they have evolved into vibrant social hubs that not only support grassroots sports but also provide valuable community services. Despite facing challenges, leagues clubs have shown resilience and adaptability, continuously innovating to meet the changing needs of their members and communities.”

McCann believes his experience as president of Wenty Leagues will help inform his role at LCA.

“It gives great insight into what clubs want and need their industry body to be doing when they are being represented. What is very different is when I am in the Wenty boardroom, the board’s priority is Wenty and what affects our members, staff, and business partners,” he said.

“However, when I meet with the LCA board, our concerns are a lot broader and focus on whole industry issues. My experience as president of Wenty Leagues provides valuable perspective in understanding the specific needs and challenges faced by individual clubs, which informs my approach to representing them at the broader industry level.”

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