Toronto Wolfpack has been denied entry back into the Betfred Super League after the board met to discuss the club’s place in the top flight.

Toronto withdrew in July due to complications caused by the Coronavirus outbreak but owner David Argyle hoped to return the following season. However, the Super League board met on 2 November and ruled with eight votes to four with one abstention that Wolfpack would not be readmitted to the league.

Super League Executive Chairman, Robert Elstone, highlighted several ‘areas of concern’ in relation to the Canadian club’s financial affairs.

“The board accepts that the decision to reject Toronto Wolfpack’s application will divide the game’s fans but, on the evidence presented to us, it would not be right for the development of the competition for Super League to accommodate a team in Canada in 2021,” Elstone said.

“As part of our comprehensive investigation into this whole subject, Super League appointed an independent committee of sports industry experts, with representation from the RFL, to examine commercial opportunities for rugby league in Canada.

“Its findings were unanimous – that operating a team in a fiercely competitive North American sports market was non-strategic and added no material incremental revenue to Super League in the short or medium term.

“Separately, it was also apparent that no assessment of the scale and accessibility of the commercial growth that might accrue to the sport from entering the Canadian market was ever completed prior to the club’s first entry into the sport.”

The four-year-old club’s unprecedented rise through the divisions, winning two promotions in three years from League One to the Super League, has been widely charted in the media and the 2020 campaign would have been Toronto’s maiden season in the top tier.

Wolfpack’s Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Hunter, responded: “We’re naturally disappointed. I thought we put a pretty good submission together. I think at the end of the day, there were a few different questions that probably didn’t get answered, so disappointed but understood.

“We could certainly entertain a new owner but we’re definitely out of Super League in 2021. Whether we re-apply to the RFL going forward, I can’t really say, it’s just too early.”

The board will reconvene later today to decide whether to proceed with 11 or 12 teams ahead of the 2021 season, with both Featherstone and London Broncos vying for Toronto’s place in the Super League.

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