Experienced club chairman, director and chief executive Stephen Ball has been appointed as the first-ever General Manager of the Rugby League Benevolent Fund.

Ball (51) takes up his full-time post at the beginning of March, administering the Fund which aims to support players whose lives are affected by serious injuries sustained while playing the game at amateur or professional level.

He was Chairman of Batley Bulldogs from 1988 to 1995, during which time he was appointed to The RFL’s Board of Directors for a 2 year tenure.

Having joined Hull FC as Chief Executive in 1995 Ball moved to Leeds Rugby 2 years later to become Operations Director in a 10 year career at Headingley, overseeing Rugby League, Rugby Union, Cricket and event activities.

Since November 2007, he has been a consultant , being appointed Chairman of Hunslet Hawks and servicing fund raising for the Benevolent Fund.

Tim Adams, Chairman of the Benevolent Fund’s Trustees, said: “Stephen has vast experience of the 13-a-side code ranging from his early participation as an amateur player and coach to his impressive career in top flight governing body and club administrative roles.

“His recent consultancy role for the Fund has confirmed his passion and commitment to the cause, particularly the essential aspect of raising funds.”

Ball, who is stepping down as Chairman of Hunslet Hawks but remaining on the Board of Directors, added: “The Benevolent Fund reflects the caring attitude of the Rugby League family at large.

“Serious injuries are a part of our great physical contact game and the ever-growing programme of fund raising events proves that the governing body, clubs and supporters alike voluntarily adopt a duty of care.”

His appointment will see a new web site launch on March 8th 2009 and a possible rebranding of the charity.

“This is an exciting period to be involved with the charity and to work at the forefront of such a respected organisation,” added Ball.