Toronto Wolfpack fate deferred for four weeks as Super League continues review

Toronto Wolfpack fate deferred for four weeks as Super League continues review

Super League wants more time — and information — before deciding whether to readmit the Toronto Wolfpack.

The Super League board said it is giving prospective new owner Carlo LiVolsi “a further opportunity to provide detail about his investment plans for the club” with a four-week time period.

LiVolsi has been invited to address the board late next month with what Super League called “the final Toronto Wolfpack proposal.”

The Wolfpack say they will make the most of the opportunity.

“We’re quite happy, to say the least,” said Bob Hunter, Toronto’s chairman and CEO. “I mean given the other alternative, absolutely we are appreciative of both the RFL (Rugby Football League) and Super League for allowing us another opportunity to show our worth and our value.

“We’re going to hustle to get back to them whatever they needed.”

Hunter said the club will learn Monday what further questions need to be answered.

Super League is also reviewing information on the viability of rugby league in North America.

“From the outset, the Super League board have said consistently that it will provide Toronto Wolfpack with every chance to present the best possible case for a place in the competition next season,” Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone said in a statement after Friday’s board meeting. “That process has to be thorough, fair and equitable and today’s decision is a further demonstration of our commitment to ensuring that.

“There were many areas of (the) Wolfpack’s submission to date that required greater clarity and our clubs felt it was important to hear from Mr. LiVolsi himself before making an informed, objective decision on the club’s future involvement.”

Elstone called it “an important next step in the ongoing, rigorous efforts to ensure … the viability and financial sustainability of Toronto Wolfpack before the board decides whether to readmit the club to the competition in 2021.”

The board said a group of “independent experts” and the RFL chair will review and update an analysis of “the viability of rugby league in Canada and North America”

The Wolfpack’s fate will eventually be decided by the 11 other Super League clubs, Elstone and the Rugby Football League. All have one vote.

The Wolfpack were not be represented at Friday’s virtual meeting.

Toronto stood down July 20, saying it could not afford to play out the remainder of the season.

Majority owner David Argyle, unable to finance the transatlantic team, has stepped away from the franchise. Toronto’s players have not been paid since June 10.

The Wolfpack have launched an all-out lobbying effort, with fans and players taking to social and other media to talk up the benefits of a toehold in North America.

LiVolsi, a Toronto entrepreneur, has tied his ownership bid to the club remaining in Super League. He also wants Toronto to get a share of the league’s central distribution funding, worth about 2.3 million pounds ($3.92 million) per team in a normal year.

The central distribution money is drawn primarily from TV revenue with a portion from sponsorships.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.


Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press


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