Angry Brian Carney questions Toronto future on “dark day for Super League”

Sky Sports presenter Brian Carney has expressed his anger at Toronto Wolfpack’s withdrawal from the remainder of the Super League season, and questioned their future.

The Canadian side stunned the rugby league world by announcing that they would not be participating in the 2020 competition, due to restart on August 2.

They have been hamstrung by issues relating to COVID-19, which has meant them having no home games in Toronto all year, while visa and pay problems have been reported in the press.

Carney told Sky Sports: “I’m surprised, shocked and angry.

“Not necessarily with the news, but the timing of it.

“I’m staggered that two weeks before the start of the season, this decision would be made. We’ve had four months, albeit four months of uncertainty, in which to deal with the issues that are now being raised by Toronto Wolfpack.

“I would to a large extent, absolve the other clubs and the governing body of Super League of any blame in this, it looks like the rug was pulled from under their feet with very late notice.

“It’s a black eye for the competition and the game, that two weeks before a much anticipated restart, one of the glamour sides, that signed Sonny Bill Williams, pulls out.

“More details will emerge. No club will have been hit harder than Toronto Wolfpack. They have had no home games in Toronto this year because of COVID.

“They signed Sonny Bill, there was a feelgood factory about their entry at the start of the year, and all that has gone up in a puff of smoke.

“I have concerns about their future beyond season 2020. If David Argyle is willing to pull out with two weeks to go, you have to put question marks against their future participation.

“There have continued to be problematic stories around players pay from Toronto Wolfpack not coming on time month after month, the club address it and they’re late a month after. These are stories reported back from the players, and they’ve never solved that problem.

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“Those visa issues have been around as long as Toronto have been in existence, and they have taken three or four years and haven’t solved the problem yet.

“Two weeks to go before the start of the season and they withdraw their services, and everybody is left scrambling from Super League to the other 11 clubs to the RFL to find a solution to this problem.

“It’s most unwelcome and it’s a dark day for the Super League competition.”

Toronto had lost all six of their Super League games in 2020, and were scheduled to play another 16 games.

Whether their records will be scrubbed from the competition or whether opposition clubs will receive two points for each game scheduled against the Wolfpack remains to be seen.

A statement from Toronto said they were hoping to return to action in 2021.

Featherstone, the side the Wolfpack beat in last season’s Championship Grand Final, have already come out and said they would be willing to fill the void left by Toronto for the rest of the year.

About James Gordon 7067 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.


  1. Toronto Wolfpack what a joke why not get Robert elstone to do something for his obscene salary as he’s done nothing yet except promote New York and Barcelona as future clubs he’s an embarrassment.

  2. Maybe from now on each Super League club has to be able to put up a fixture fulfilment bond of £1m. If they pull out the bond is forfeit and divided equally between the other Super League clubs.

    If Featherstone have the resources then why not let them fill the vacant spot?

  3. Sad day for my club Featherstone Rovers who have shown great determination to try get the championship up and running.
    Toronto should not be allowed to walk back in at SL level in 2021 surely. They should be demoted. If it was Wakefield or HKR that had pulled out I doubt they would go unpunished.

  4. I am a Rovers fan and also a huge proponent of Toronto. I hope they survive, but they should be demoted to the Championship as punishment.

    Hopefully David Argyle can find better people to run the club.

  5. Kick Toronto out , they were bringing nothing to our great game , why don’t we promote grass roots clubs instead of trying out clubs from the other side of the world….give Featherstone a chance .

    • I’m a Widnes fan, and if any side deserves to play super league rugby, then it is surely Featherstone Rovers. Toronto were doomed to fail

  6. The RFL have been trying to “expand” since around 1980, Fulham and soon after Carlisle and Kent Invicta. That went well didn’t it. It’s never going to work, they don’t have the financial muscle to do it. Simple as. They should be using whatever cash they’re wasting on making the product they have as strong as possible just to make sure the game survives at all. These continued failed expansion attempts are risking the sports whole future. Cumbria, a hot bed of rugby league has basically been amputated from the RFLs body, I’m pretty sure a team in that neck of the woods would generate more interest than a franchise from across the Atlantic which has had leg up after leg up handed to them.

  7. SL clubs, with the exception of Toronto, are greedy, self interested and elitist. That’s not RL. It was an inclusive sport that looked after its own.
    Now it suffers, like most of the country from FYJIA.
    SL are killing the game.

  8. So how come it wasn’t a problem wen team’s travelling to toronto had visa issues as soon as TW have the problem they throw the teddy out the cot
    It’s too expensive for clubs to engage in away travel
    Rugby league survived for years with M62 decide and was a far interesting and exciting game which survived with out corrupt personnel

  9. If Toronto are simply relegated then that’s zero punishment, as they were almost certainly going to end up bottom of the league so relegated anyway. If they remain in SL then how come many other teams were punished for completing their fixtures but simply had cash problems?

  10. So many small minded M62 cloth caps. The game deserves better than you, the people who’ve held it back for over 100 years. Who in their right mind would debate Toronto vs Featherstone. If the game isn’t careful Toronto will be lost, possibly to RU.

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