Ottawa Aces postpone entry to League 1 until 2022

Ottawa Aces have decided to postpone their entry into League 1 until 2022.

The announcement comes in the wake of Toronto Wolfpack’s failure to win back their place in Super League but, according to the Aces, is due to travel uncertainty between Canada and the UK next year caused by the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Ottawa, which was formed by Toronto founder Eric Perez from the old Hemel Stags club and re-located to Ontario, was given the go-ahead by the Rugby Football League ahead of a rival bid by New York to join the league in 2021.

They say the about-turn has been made in conjunction with the RFL in the best long-term interests of the club, the competition and the sport, while the governing body says it will work with them on plans to enter the league in 2022.

In a statement, the club said: “The Ottawa Aces announce that, after much consultation and deliberation, it was decided that in consideration of the best long-term interests of the club, the competition and the sport, and as agreed between the RFL and the club, to defer the Aces’ entry into the RFL league structure to the 2022 season.

“This decision was not taken lightly and is due to the ongoing proliferation of Covid-19 cases across the UK and increasing numbers across Ontario that cast doubt on the ability to travel freely between Canada and the UK in 2021.”

Preparations for 2021 were well advanced, with former Catalans Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous assembling a full-time squad so far comprising 18 signings, although one of them, Warrington forward Ellis Robson, has since opted to stay with the Super League club.

The statement added: “The Aces organisation will focus on making sure all players and staff are given the support they need during this difficult time. All current season ticket deposits will be honoured for the 2022 season.

“The Aces remains a proud member of the RFL and will now concentrate efforts on the future and focus on bringing professional rugby league to TD Place Stadium in 2022.”

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