Featherstone want Super League place after Toronto withdraw for 2020 season

Featherstone Rovers want Toronto Wolfpack’s Super League place after the Canadian club sparked anger among rugby league chiefs by announcing their withdrawal for the remainder of the 2020 season.

The league’s only transatlantic club cited “overwhelming financial challenges” for their decision to temporarily withdraw from Super League.

Wolfpack had been due to resume the season against Hull KR on August 2 and their move drew a strongly-worded joint statement from Super League and the RFL.

The statement read: “Betfred Super League and the RFL are very disappointed to learn that Toronto Wolfpack will not be able to fulfil their obligations to Super League 2020.

“Super League Europe and The RFL have been in regular dialogue with the Wolfpack over the past weeks and months regarding the club’s ability to take part in the competition and firm assurances had been received as recently as last Thursday, 16 July.

“The club’s decision is especially disappointing given the imminent restart of the season.”

Despite the high-profile signing of Sonny Bill Williams, Toronto had lost their first six matches of their debut top-flight season and were facing the imminent prospect of relegation back to the Championship.

The club were already facing up to the prospect of having to cancel their remaining scheduled fixtures in Toronto, and indicated that the financial impact was too much to bare.

The club said in a statement:”Toronto Wolfpack can confirm that the club has informed both Super League Europe (SLE) and the Rugby Football League (RFL) that the team will not be restarting the campaign as scheduled on August 2.

“The Wolfpack will not participate in the conclusion of the 2020 Betfred Super League season, or in the remainder of the 2020 Challenge Cup.

“This decision has not been taken lightly, and in consideration of a range of factors specific to the club as the only transatlantic team in the league.”

Noting reduced ticket, sponsorship and game-day revenue streams, the statement added: “The COVID pandemic has presented unexpected and overwhelming financial challenges to the Wolfpack organisation.”

The club said it would work with Super League and the RFL to “understand the process” of moving into next season.

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SSE and the RFL added: “A discussion around the longer term consequences and the future of the Wolfpack in Super League will commence shortly.

Following news of Toronto’s withdrawal, Featherstone announced they had made contact with Super League and RFL officials to express their interest in joining the competition.

Rovers CEO Davide Longo said: “We were surprised that Toronto Wolfpack have had to make such a tough decision, every club within the sport has had to make challenging decisions this year and we share their disappointment in this difficult period.

“However, it leaves the rest of the Super League clubs with an uneven competition, disrupting the integrity of the division in 2020.

“Rovers have a squad littered with experienced players and ambitions to strengthen the squad if an opportunity presents itself.

“Featherstone were unbeaten going into lockdown and we feel a shot this season is worthy of our club’s efforts over recent years.”

Rovers, who were beaten in the 2019 Championship Grand Final by Toronto, remain undefeated in this season’s Betfred Championship and are due to play Wakefield Trinity in the sixth round of the Coral Challenge Cup.


  1. So now what happens to the points for the games they played? What if the last playoff place comes down to points difference and one team thumped them, another didn’t play them, another scraped a win. It’s a mess, I know it’s a difficult position for them, nobody could have foreseen this! I believe it’s good for the game to have them in Super League, I hope an acceptable solution can be worked out. Maybe a decider against the a team from the Championship, or say a small short five team competition, Wolfpack, three or four other Championship clubs who meet the Super League criteria, and a playoff. Winner gets the Super League spot? I guess we’ve the luxury of time for the RFL to try and come up with something. Maybe offer Saracens a chance to compete for a place after their “troubles”.

  2. I an not sure on what basis you can justify describing in your article Toronto’s ‘imminent prospect of relegation’ after they have only played six league games. Don’t forget as well that in their last game before the lockdown they beat high flying Huddersfield easily in the Cup. Seems to be there are too many people secretly rubbing their hands at Toronto’s problems. Of course the timing is unfortunate but how on Earth you can expect them to continue with no Sky funding, no revenue from home games, no option of a government loan and all additional costs for playing in England. I wonder how the other SuperLeague clubs would cope!

  3. That’s just what the Superleague Needs at this moment in time
    Yet another Club from A small town in Yorkshire !!

  4. If the lads in blue and white were given a chance to play in super league with all its history just think about all the local Derbys that would be played like castleford and wakefield etc

  5. Featherstone deserve a chance. After all they were badly treated when they were forced into the championship to let inPSG.
    Small can be beautiful. They have a much better ground than Wakefield or Cas. They have good history and loyal fans. Come on play the game.

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