RFL to seek club views on New York application

James Gordon
New York

Ricky Wilby was behind New York's application to join the RFL ranks

The RFL will ask the consortia behind the bid to create a rugby league team in New York to present their proposals to existing Championship and League 1 clubs to gauge support.

Following the success of Toronto Wolfpack, a New York bid have been vocal in both their desire to join the RFL and also their disappointment at the lack of progress and response from the governing body, despite former RFL chief executive Nigel Wood being asked to prepare a report on the bid.

Reports recently also linked Eric Perez, involved in the foundation of the Wolfpack, to a bid for Hemel Stags’ licence to relocate the club to North America, most likely to Jacksonville.

However, there has been some controversy over an apparent £500,000 bond that is being asked for from clubs, something which was baulked at by Manchester Rangers when they expressed their interest in joining the professional game recently.

An RFL statement said: “The Board of the Rugby Football League considered at last week’s meeting an application to relocate Hemel Stags, and another new application to launch a club in New York.

“Both applications are judged to have the potential to help deliver the RFL’s strategic vision. They are at different stages, but a degree of further due diligence and assessment is required on both to ensure that the financial and business plans presented are deliverable.

“In addition, the Board recognises the importance of further expansion having the support of the other clubs.

“Accordingly, the Board has asked each of the consortia to present to, and take questions from, the existing Betfred Championship and League One clubs, after which the RFL will gauge support.”

The RFL’s strategic vision includes creating new player pools, bringing in additional revenues and commercial partners, extra viewers to increase the game’s visibility and profile, and a new spectator base.