New North American rugby league shelved until 2022

North American Rugby League

The proposed North American rugby league competition scheduled to start later this month has been put back until 2022.

Doubts have been raised over the viability of the league in recent weeks, due to finance, logistics, player availability and insurance.

The competition was launched with much fanfare earlier this year, involving Toronto Wolfpack, who were controversially cut from Super League last year, and Ottawa Aces, who had been due to join League 1 in 2021 but for the pandemic.

TEAMS: The 14 teams taking part in the new North American Rugby League competition

League organisers have now confirmed they will look ahead to 2022.

A statement said: “The North American Rugby League announced today that it will now launch in the Spring of 2022.

“An original launch date for the league of June 2021 was scheduled, however several factors have resulted in this proposed launch being delayed.”

LAUNCH: Toronto Wolfpack and Ottawa Aces to join new Northern American league

A number of players had been recruited by the NARL, including former Wigan forward Eddy Pettybourne, who has now signed for Red Star Belgrade.

The West Conference had already been postponed due to insurance issues, as announced last month, but now the entire competition will not go ahead.

NARL Chief Operating Officer Robert Curtis said: “We as an organization came forward with tremendous enthusiasm and relentless motivation.

“In the process we were greeted by an incredible response from supporters and rugby league fans who wished us well and were excited to see the development of professional rugby league in North America.

“In our desire to meet the expectations of this new and dynamic attention for the sport we are so eager to grow, we tried to rush operations to put teams on the pitch too early.

“We are thankful to our amazing fans for their support right out of the gate, we never expected to be embraced so well, so quickly.

“Moving forward our focus is on creating the best possible product for Spring 2022; exceeding expectations, showcasing the best rugby league, and creating an experience your loyalty deserves.”

The NARL has hinted that there will be a number of exhibition games this summer, as well as the Canada Cup clash between Toronto and Ottawa.

The Wolfpack released a statement, saying: “Toronto Wolfpack can confirm that the Canada Cup will still be played as planned and we look forward to playing in the east coast division in 2022.

“We have exciting announcements coming over the next two weeks and appreciate as always the patience and support from our fans.”

The make up of the Wolfpack remains unclear, having been virtually mothballed since Super League rejected the application of a new owner to take over the franchise and remain in the competition.

Leigh took their place, following a brief licensing exercise, and have lost all nine games in Super League this season.

About James Gordon 7231 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. this is a worry……………..

    “The make up of the Wolfpack remains unclear, having been virtually mothballed since Super League rejected the application of a new owner to take over the franchise and remain in the competition

  2. What a joke. First the West Conference was cancelled, which was to be expected since its teams are all centrally owned. But now the East Conference is cancelled too?

    Most of the East clubs have been playing for years so it shouldn’t have been that difficult to put on a show this time around. They knew what the difficulties were from the beginning so then why even announce the 2021 season in the first place?

    I bet they cancel the Canada Cup next.

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