Toronto Wolfpack have failed in their bid to be readmitted to Super League in 2021, after clubs overwhelmingly rejected their proposal to return to the top-flight next season. After withdrawing from their debut season in Super League midway through this year due to financial difficulties, the Wolfpack laid out their case to be reinstated next year to clubs at a meeting on Monday.
However, eight of the 13 votes – which consisted of the 11 remaining top-flight clubs, the Rugby Football League and Super League – went against Toronto, meaning the Canadian club now faces an uncertain future in the sport. Leeds Rhinos, Catalans Dragons, St Helens were the clubs who voted in favour of the Wolfpack rejoining Super League, while the RFL also used their vote to lend their support. The remaining votes were against, with one abstention.
With readmission to Super League denied, the Wolfpack may now have to restart in a lower division or potentially walk away from the game altogether. The club’s prospective new owner, Carlo LiVolsi, had warned that if they failed in their bid to return to Super League, he may reconsider his bid to take the Wolfpack forward. With the RFL keen to find a way forward for Toronto to stay in the sport, it remains to be seen whether they enter Championship or League 1 in 2021.
The Guardian understands that the new ownership’s failure to provide proof of funding at the meeting was a major factor in why the decision went against Toronto, with some clubs who had previously been in favour unwilling to back the Wolfpack’s return without a clear and coherent plan for the club moving forward.
Super League must now decide whether it proceeds as an 11-team competition in 2021, as has been the case this year since Toronto’s withdrawal, or whether a club is elevated from the Championship to take their place. With the second-tier campaign cancelled this year, however, it makes finding a twelfth team far more difficult. Running with 11 teams would also mean the competition’s lucrative Magic Weekend event has less chance of being staged.
Clubs were also set to discuss how to conclude this season, with a proposal to end the regular season with immediate effect and introduce an extended play-off system debated. That will be decided on Tuesday, but the Guardian has learned that the likelihood is that the season will finish as planned, with a four-team play-off to decide who plays at the Grand Final on November 27.