More clubs show interest in joining League 1

The RFL have confirmed a number of clubs are interested in joining League 1 from 2021 and beyond.

The most publicised bids have come from Ottawa, who bought Hemel’s licence earlier in the year, and New York, as they both look to follow in the footsteps of Toronto Wolfpack.

Spanish side Valencia Huracanes have submitted an application, while the RFL say there has been interest from clubs in the UK.

At a recent RFL briefing, Chief Regulatory Officer Karen Moorhouse said: “We continue to get interest from whole range of entities about joining the RFL competition which is fantastic. We have discussions with them to assess how they can help us achieve our objectives for the sport.

“Back in spring, the RFL board gave the executive a conditional approval to move forward discussions with New York and Ottawa, with Hemel relocating for the latter.

“Part of that was that the bids had general support from the clubs. Clubs confirmed they were supportive of moving forward with the applications.

“We’re continuing in dialogue and we’ve had positive conversations but we appreciate that before we embark with another overseas club, we must go through a robust process assessing their bids and due-diligence, and look at logistics for other clubs.

“They’re both targeting 2021 to join League 1.

“If they’re going to come in then they will have to be approved well in advance of the start of the 2021 season.”

However, the planned club in Bristol, which had been announced following the withdrawal of Gloucestershire All Golds and Oxford, will now not be part of the third tier.

RFL chief executive, Ralph Rimmer, said: “It fell away because we put them under pressure. It’s important we don’t just wave people through.

“That was the intention, for Oxford and Gloucester to come together, when it was announced, but whoever it is, they will go undergo the same due-diligence as everyone else – and they didn’t stand up to it.”

After Toronto steamrollered League 1 in their first year, it took them two seasons to earn promotion from the Championship and take up a place in Super League in 2020.

It has led to suggestions that further overseas clubs shouldn’t start in League 1, but instead go straight in to the second tier or even Super League directly.

Here is how League 1 could line-up if the three overseas clubs mentioned above are accepted.

Based on the latest odds from Betfred, as part of this estimation Barrow and Doncaster will be promoted to the Championship, with Whitehaven and Oldham returning to League 1.




London Skolars


New York

North Wales





West Wales



About James Gordon 7308 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.

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