Initial Toronto bid “disappointing” says Elstone as Wolfpack given more time to convince Super League

James Gordon

Robert Elstone says Toronto’s initial submission for rejoining Super League in 2021 was “frankly disappointing”, and that the Wolfpack can only be pleased to be given the chance to put that right.

At a much anticipated meeting of Super League clubs and executives on Friday, it was decided to give the Canadian club a further four weeks to work on their bid to remain in the competition, after prospective new owner Carlo LiVolsi reached out to ask for more time having acknowledged that the bid fell short.

Elstone said: “What we saw first time was frankly disappointing and what we hope to see is something much more stronger. They can only be pleased to be given that chance to put it right.

“The clubs were open minded enough to say that if you do it right second time, it’s robust and every box is ticked, that they would consider it fairly and objectively at that time.

READ MORE: Decision over Toronto Wolfpack’s future in Super League delayed

“We had set quite a long list of requirements for the club to fulfil and answer.

“In essence the two principle points were the viability of Super League in Canada, and really there certainly wasn’t enough evidence to support that, and secondly the viability of the club itself through its financial projections and the input of the owner and the funding of the club, and neither of those were answered in sufficient detail.

“LiVolsi admitted it hadn’t had his full attention and that he hadn’t applied the necessary resources to it. He held his hand up, asked for a second chance, and the clubs have taken a fair and reasonable approach and the ball is now in their court to deliver.”

Elstone also confirmed that Super League will do its own work on the commercial viability of Super League in Canada, and whether clubs will be better off at some point in the forseeable future from having a club in Toronto.

They will review the work done by the RFL when admitting Toronto back in 2017, as well as investigating whether any further background work had been done in the process of admitting Ottawa Aces, who are due to join League 1 in 2021, to the professional structure.

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He added: “We need to think about the scope of that work, and there is some challenge in doing that. It’s easy to look at the size of Toronto, the wealth of Toronto, the tourist information of the city, the size of the broadcast markets, but we’ve got to make sure that’s relevant to the job in hand.

“The accessibility of Toronto Wolfpack to those markets is a lot different to how big those markets are. We will look at similar sports businesses and how they’ve capitalised on opportunities.”

Toronto now have until October 23rd to prepare their updated bid, which chief executive Bob Hunter and LiVolsi will be invited to present, after which time the Super League board and club chiefs will again consider whether the club will form part of the competition in 2021.