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

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.

READ MORE: “Dark day for the game” if Super League snubs Toronto, says Jamie Peacock

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.


  1. I understand the value of having Toronto in our game but that doesn’t mean they should stay in the Super league…they should at least be relegated to the Championship and rebuild from there

    • Trouble is the potential new owner has said he will only invest in the club if it’s in the Super League. So really it’s Super League or extinction.

    • Elstone.
      Just kill the game now. It’s run by small minded parochial people for small minded parochial people.
      Just admit it and accept that as a global sport, the game is not even interested in trying and that any other utterances are lip service.
      People don’t even want Catalans in.
      Global sporting credibility (the future) of the game is minimal at best and will undoubtedly get worse.

  2. If Toronto is excluded or demoted then Rugby League in England will get what it deserves. A game in two provinces that develops players for Rugby Union and never, NEVER beats Australia in a series. Aim low boys, the corner shop is more valuable than Harrods apparently.

    • Mate, I may be reading your statement wrong, but how does Toronto staying in the Super league help England beat Australia? It expands the game and brings in more revenue but won’t develop rugby league players

      • Because they think by belittling our rugby teams , that have been around for years , will keep them in super league . But have forgotten a small fact played 6 won none , drawn 0, lost 6 . Because their not good enough.

      • It isn’t rocket science. The larger the audience for RL the more people are interested, the greater the revenue, the more youngsters take up the game, the better the coaching becomes (rather than watching them go to Union), the better the England team will become. I’m amazed you’re happy and satisfied to watch the Kangaroos put 30-40 on the best you’ve got nearly every time they play, or watch your premiers get humiliated nearly every year. Pride in failure and mediocrity eh?

  3. You Toronto supporters need to pull your head out the moose’s backside and wake up before you loose. The wolvepack for good . The owner ( future) can’t even put a serious bid in the first time around and he’s a business man . So you’ve been given extra time to sort yourselves out . When londo and featherstone are ready to . Toronto a professional club for super league club my arse

  4. Leaguefan you keep writing on here that Toronto have taken nothing out of the game , but put a lot into the game can you please quote some examples of what they have put in.because all see is mayhem and disaster and then walk out of two competitions after spitting their dummy out and chucking their teddies out the cot , I just see them bringing the game into disrepute and doing more damage to the sport’s reputation even more than Morris linsey ever did .

    • Really, you do not know?
      TV contract that covered all thei games in Canada and the UK. Coverage of their existence in GLOBAL media,
      Local interest and crowds up in League 2 and championship. Got sponsors to pay for all air travel and accommodations.
      Meanwhile in the UK people won’t travel a short distance to watch Wigan play Saints and fill the ground, and also people believe Featherstone, a VILLAGE with a small population is SL material.🤪🤪🤪🤪
      Sport is going global, except RL which wants to remain insular and live on its history.

      • LeagueFan, Toronto Wolfpack games are not shown on TV in Canada….Their Championship final game was shown on Sportsnet but the only time they are on TV is via Sky.

        I fully get why having a Super league market in North America is attractive…I get it, but it’s obvious they won’t be able to handle playing at the top level. No academy, no money, little-to-medium fanbase (people harp on about the atmosphere, I’ve been to Lamport Stadium three times and the stadium is was half full every time!). In my opinion, the Wolfpack and Ottawa should develop a North American league (bring in New York, etc). Build the game, develop the sport in your country…simply put, they and Ottawa will not survive or compete at the highest level in England

  5. Dear league fan , is that all you can say for what Toronto brought to the game , no expansion into schools colleges and universities. No touch rugby competition no spreading the game to youth clubs scouts ect. The only things they have is TV rights and free travel no expansion plans what so ever and free travel for teams to play them and they can’t even put a professional bid in to remain in super league for 2021 , the guy who wants to be the new owner admits the application to rejoin was not good enough, given another month to sort a bid out . They have had. The coach ex. Players tv pundits the new owner saying what he’s going to do even using blackmail to remain in super league , saying it’s super league or bust or I’m not interested. Take a look at my club Widnes Vikings went bust with a crap chairman and light fingered James rules with a £125 left in the clubs account . I’ll tell you how fans putting money into the Vikings quids in program, other teams fans supporting us at games . A scholar ship program, rugby summer schools for kids Ect . You come on here slagging featherstone and batley off, with more history than Toronto’s 4 years . Yes I’d rather watch batley and featherstone on a cold Thursday night for a number of reason , both good clubs with history , both clubs have good fans , both clubs have never walked out a competition no matter how financial hard time have been and both clubs have pride and passion something Toronto don’t have and can’t buy . So Toronto’s got along long way to go to catch any club in this sport including west wales , Coventry , London skolars , ect . So I think Toronto need to come up with something better in their next application , but still need to face relegation or a points deduction as punishment, they have treated this game with total disrespect. Even if they are allowed to stay in game they should be monitored financially before being allowed to buy every Tom dick and harry again and pay the staff the wages they haven’t had and have a pitch that’s maked out for only rugby league and not like Rolf Harris painting gone mad and then I might just listen to expansion in Canada.. I think that Toronto need to take a step back to lower league , before moving forward , on a more stable and professional platform.

    • What you posted just about sums up RL in this country and after 125 years the game on the global stage is …………….?
      There is a World Cup next year with teams “making up the numbers” but they are “selling the game” in their own way.
      When RUGBY started it had exactly what to fall back on?
      Toronto did what was asked and PAID for everything themselves, they took NOTHING FINANCIALLY FROM THE RFL and still don’t.
      There are clubs “historically” who are on their 4th or 5th incarnations and have added nothing to the game except exist. Look at the state of the game, the grounds, the fans, clubs “promising new grounds for 20 years and ?
      Teams whose fan base is small, Featherstone as an example but are touted as SL material and yet don’t register on the globally media radar.
      I understand the arguments people put forward, but as an example look what SL/RFL allowed Catalans to do, Look at how Melbourne were supported, look at how Sydney Swans were supported in the AFL and look at them now.
      If RL wants to remain insular and not think long term, then fine but you cannot sell what is currently on offer to the global market.
      The Journey starts with the first step.

      • So you think that going bust walking out the league and challenge cup all in 4 years of a new clubs life is the future of the sport . Your having a laugh . Toronto are a failed experiment in the development of the sport and you can’t accept the fact that west wales , Coventry and London skolars have made it work and Toronto have messed it up . I know who I’d rather watch and it is not a club like Toronto who can’t even put a decent professional bid in to reapply for super league so what does that show the RFL and super league . It’s funny you never mention your experience in this sport , but moan about batley and featherstone who have never walked away from the league or challenge cup and have survived a lot longer than Toronto . Now you bring up the World Cup , I was a original Scotland international with a number of full international caps , so you need a closer look at the game I only have to mention Russia , America , Cook Islands , Samoa , Tonga , PNG , Ireland , Lebanon as developement areas for the game not one side have made a pigs ear of The development of the sport as Toronto have . I don’t which to. Be rude as you have a right to a opinion and free speech , that people in the armed forces have provide for you oh by the way another development area of rugby league that over came the rugby union bigots, but some times you talk utter bollocks about the game such as the tv rights that Toronto have or the size of the crowds that attend . Stay safe and keep well

  6. Featherstone walked out of the challenge cup as did other championship clubs!!
    DENY THEM ENTRY because they brought the game into disrepute 🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪

  7. No that’s not quite right is it , the championship sides left the competition because super league sides had. Been training and playing for three 3 weeks before . Some what. Unlevel playing field . Good decision seeing all the positive tests in super league . You still avoid the question, what’s your experience in this sport apart from a armchair. You come up with tosh on here . Seeing as I’ve coached, played to international level , it appears you have very very limited knowledge

  8. C’mon people what’s with all the chest beating? We are all stakeholders in this great game. Whether you go for the Chemiks/Vikings, North Sydney Bears, Hunslet Hawks, Sunshine Coast Falcons or Toronto Wolfpack it shouldn’t matter because at the end of the day it’s the game of Rugby league we all love to watch. For those who have contributed to this great sport in any shape or form we acknowledge, appreciate and say thanks and those who have only come on board recently we also welcome you too. Just remember the last 3 letters in Rugby league footbALL.
    With regards to the Wolfpack I agree with Alex that they can stay in Super league as long as they cop a punishment like the many teams before them who have gone broke. So how about a minus 6 points deduction instead of the usual -12 due to a once in a century pandemic and can’t play in the prestigious Challenge Cup for 2 years. Ok then that’s sorted and the winner is Rugby league football the greatest game of all.

  9. Dear mr Berry I agree with about 98% of your comments but if it was12 point deduction for Widnes Vikings and Toronto want to stay in our leagues it’s 12 points deduction for them to and be financially monitored like Widnes were until we were told we could come out of special measures for going Bust under O’Connor and rules . No special treatment, no soft treat , they knew the deal they had with RFL and super league and lied 2 days before super league restarted . Keep safe and keep well

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