No relegation from Super League “the only option”

Phil Clarke says there was no other option but to scrap promotion and relegation from Super League this season.

The cancellation of the Championship season was confirmed last night, and the dramatic withdrawal of Toronto Wolfpack means Super League will complete with 11 teams in 2020.

It remains to be seen whether Toronto will be allowed to continue in the top flight in 2021, having angered clubs and Super League by the manner and timing of their withdrawal, and the Wolfpack themselves admit they are not sure whether they will be invited back.

Clarke told Sky Sports: “It was the only option when Toronto pulled out.

“All sporting contests need some integrity. The integrity of the competition is severely damaged because of that.

“Toronto haven’t been given a chance to compete at the highest level. In theory (they’ll be back next year), but who knows.

“This is interesting times. All Super League clubs believed 12 months ago, that it would be a good idea for them to be in the competition, some of them may change their minds now.

“Of all the sports clubs in British competitions that have been affected by the pandemic, no club has been hurt more than the Wolfpack. They’ve got no home games, they don’t share any of the TV money or central distribution funding and they’ve not had the opportunity to use furlough for their players. They have done it tough, and it’s been an uphill battle.

“Opinion is split between fans in this country about the Wolfpack, but they are in, and they did bring a freshness and intrigue to the competition.

“Not having promotion and relegation isn’t a new thing in rugby league. We’ve more or less spent the last 25 years of Super League debating the pros and cons of promotion and relegation annually. In a sport like rugby league, that doesn’t have the resources of football, I’m not sure using money just to avoid relegation is the best use of resources for the sport.”


  1. Sorry you join Super League and their are rules! Toronto knew this, I fully supported them joining, but they have not kept to the rules and now must suffer the consequences which is relegation. Quite a few Championship Clubs invested money in players again this season, a lot of money, some keeping players professional to gain Promotion, sorry but it is shameful to try and buy them off with a £250,000 Cup Prize! As a sport we seem to be all over the place, and this confirms it even more.

    • Get a grip you tool. Take your blinkers off and look at the finances due to the pandemic. I’m a business owner and have been carried by furlough, Toronto had no central funding and no opportunities for other support. It’s a poor situation but maybe you should look up Empathy in the dictionary

  2. I think that Toronto should be given another chance next year, this Covid situation has hit them hard and could not be foreseen 12 months ago. As for the Championship competition, knowing RL the details will be released at the last minute with the least amount of thought for the clubs, players and spectators.

  3. All Super League clubs do is look after there own interests, they have no intentions of letting any other teams in, accept by invitation. Each season we see the same clubs getting help from the larger clubs via “players sent on loan” to keep them in Super League, Wakefield being a very good example. The chairmen of these clubs have nothing but self interest and will stop at nothing to prevent “other” Clubs from entering Super League.
    Until all clubs are treated equally and made to stand on there own two feet, nothing will change.

  4. A British RL Club would be relegated to Championship as a minimum by the RFL for this action, not forgetting that at the last minute before Covid19 Lockdown TW went cap in hand to change the Salary Cap as they had overspent on SBW & other contracts & were claiming they didn’t have a squad big enough to complete the season !

    I in no way advocate the end of TW as some fans do but they must have equal penalty to that which a U.K Club would receive.

    Maybe it is time to set a plan towrds a new franchise of a 16 team SL for 2022 & have all clubs apply using strict & clear criteria for admission, including attendance, Stadia, finances & business plans. I am sure that Toronto & othees could present compelling applications.

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