Should Toronto continue in Super League in 2021?

11th March 2020, John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield, England; Coral Challenge Cup Round 5, Toronto Wolfpack v Huddersfield Giants : Brian McDermott Head Coach of Toronto Wolfpack offers advice to Darcy Lussick

On this week’s Rugby League Lunch Hour (live every Thursday at 12.30pm on the Love Rugby League Facebook page), we debate whether Toronto should be allowed to continue in Super League in 2021.

Super League executives will hold discussions today and next week regarding the future of the Wolfpack, and whether they will be allowed to remain in the competition – and if so, with what sanctions.

Drew: “I think they should. I think this year has been very difficult. We couldn’t foresee a global pandemic striking us the way it has, and I think they deserve another chance, I really do.

“I can understand people who don’t think they should have another chance in Super League but considering the circumstances this year, and the prospective new owner sounds like he’s very determined to right the wrongs of the Wolfpack and it’s a big step for Super League to take, a big decision, but if it was up to me, I’d give them a second chance.”

To view the full debate, skip to 27:45 in the video below.

James: “Rugby league needs two things – more fans and more players. If you have more fans and more players, all the other stuff (commercial, broadcast etc) follows. Toronto have managed to attract crowd numbers that are higher than more than half of Super League teams, and they’ve never had a Super League game in Canada.

“I still ask questions about the logistics and the strategy, but in many ways that’s not for Toronto to decide. They’re just one club, they asked to be in it, the RFL said yes, and so they are in it. It’s not up to them to decide what the wider strategy for the game is, all Toronto can do is be the best club that they can be.

“I’m a little uncomfortable with the new owners saying if they let us back in, I’ll pay all the wages. I think if Toronto do remain, they’ve got to have a points deduction. I don’t know what it would be, maybe four or six points.

“I think they should get the central funding. All 12 teams should get the same. You get 11 teams voting and there will be at least four or five teams voting who’ll be thinking if we vote to kick Toronto out, then we’ll be a couple of hundred grand better off next season and be selfish. If you put everyone on an equal footing for funding, you remove that bias.”

HAVE YOUR SAY! Should Toronto be allowed to remain in Super League in 2021? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

41 Comments

  1. Bradford suffered when they do not edhere to the rules, so how much we want to see the game develop it would be completely wrong to allow Toronto to continue. Clubs like London, Featherstone, Widnes & Leigh would all like to compete in Super League, they should have a play off to decide who moves up to Super League in 2021. Toronto need to regroup, it is simply not working with the weather and so many games being played in a block.

  2. Yes they should be allowed stay in super league no one could predict what would happen with a world wide pandemic we might need the numbers because I think we might loose a few more teams with the way the economy is going

    • You still have to pay your men that had nothing to do with vivid put them back in league 1 and see if they are committed again I think you might get a surprise

    • Toronto should be given another chance . This is a global pandemic and unprecedented. They fill their stadium every match. They should also receive the share of central funding. A points deduction possibly but don’t forget they’ve almost destroyed rugby union in Toronto.This is not the time to go back to the M62 mentality.

  3. Yes they should definitely be allowed because rugby league needs more fans, players and exposure to survive in the long term. Toronto need to demonstrate a long term viability plan which demonstrates how they can be less reliant on one owner and bring more Canadian players through. People do play rugby league in Canada so it shouldn’t be that difficult to do that.

    • All the clubs need to show a long term viability then. There are clubs who live hand out to hand out, which was denied to Toronto.
      Many clubs are not viable.

    • I agree,they should be demoted and work back to superleague and have a fair refereeing system.not like the last one where everyone could see that Toronto were getting all the decisions,or they didn’t do knock ons the ball was raked out and forward passes were ignored by the ref and allowed to go unnoticed.And the crowds consisted of shoppers in the mall who had been let in for free.Who pays the Atlantic crossing flights for English clubs going to Toronto ?

  4. Of course they should be back in, makes no sense to expound the virtues of expansion and then kick a team out at the first sign of trouble. I would advocate going even further, turn a blind eye to salary caps for teams in expansion areas, let them build teams that can win not only the super league but more importantly the WCC, after 4 or 5 years give them a nominal fine and a slap on the wrist. Its worked well for Melbourne. Just imagine if that had have been done for Paris or London, we’d have had one of the biggest sports in the world by now.

  5. I personally think that Toronto Wolfpack should be given the same chances that Bradford Bulls had, which is none. They should be relegated and receive the same points deducted for next season that other clubs had. The prospective new owner is holding a gun at the RFL that he will pay the wages if they are allowed to rejoin Super League. Pie in the sky promises.

  6. Absolutely TWP should be in and all income should be distributed equally. An insurance bond covering 6 months staff and player salaries should be secured by the ownership group. within 5 years the team should pledge to having 15pct of its roster Canadian players.

  7. Toronto back in super league NO WAY they have had more dispensations and everything else that goes with it ie 2.1 million to sony bill theyve tried and failed miserably players not been paid since may so why would any more players play for them with the clear uncertainty of the club and yes im all for expanding the game but canada has proven its a logistical nightmare for other clubs so for me personaly its a big fat NO they have spent spent spent and still got no where Its just not financialy viable ,see ya

  8. No it’s got nothing to do with a visa over here which they were complaining about that that goes with everyone they can’t even pay there wages on time to me there seen a easy way out with know relegation that is reason in my opinion ..no…

  9. If Toronto are allowed back in SL my 40 years following RL will be over.
    Did not agree to them being accepted in the first place. It will never work.

  10. And many of the attitudes in the posts explain exactly why RL, especially in the UK, is a small fish in a very big GLOBALMEDIA market. Lots of other sports are thinking globally, here people wont consider watching Saint’s V Wigan, so a sell out these days is a surprise as it’s “too far to travel” etc..
    Think small, and you end up with small.

  11. There is a great deal of talk about having this “great global game” and “expand or die”, but all of the fantasy expansions involve massive changes to rugby league as we see it today. Imagine a global game – you can see immediately the disappearance of teams like Bramley and Whitehaven (picked at random), but let’s be clear, there would also be no place for the Leeds, Wigans and St Helens of this world. If we have Paris, London, Toronto, whatever in the States etc, then UK representation would have to be Yorkshire, Merseyside etc. and the community spirit of which we are all so proud just disappears out of the window. I don’t know that it’s a vision of rugby league which appeals to me. Better and much more sensible to encourage local development such as is happening in the Newcastle area, than include teams on a different continent who cannot fit in with the season in the UK because there’s a risk of two feet of snow on the pitch in the early part of the season, and a massive round trip at ludicrous costs for a sport which does not have the financial base to support it. For these reasons I say no to Toronto.

  12. They supposedly had the backing of a billionaire, he’s gone. Players and staff haven’t been paid. That means they don’t meet the requirements for Super League. What happens if they do the same next year? I’d look at a five team round robin, top two play off for the spot in Super League, but only teams that can put financial guarantees in place for at least two years survival. Home and away fixtures, so eight games each…the winner gets the Super League spot. But there have to be guarantees for the sake of the other clubs and their income streams.

    In these difficult times I’d even consider asking Bath, Saracens, Leicester, etc, if they wanted to run a dual code team between them, like a Barbarians Rugby League team. Feel free to shoot that down, or even discuss it would be good.

  13. Just a waist of time kick them out also Wakefield who have been promising a new stadiam for 10 years just so they can hang on in super league let leigh and Featherstone in teams that deserve to be in and have grounds to match

  14. Let them come back if as the same position as Bradford found themselves, back to league one with a £5000 salary cap and no exceptions.

  15. No they should have a North American League to expand the game over there before joining a League over here. Union kick and clap don’t want North American teams in their League why should we be different.

  16. Their financial problems pre-dated the covid 19 pandemic. TWP may have brought in crowds in Canada, but how does that help rugby league in the UK? Perhaps we could learn something from them at promoting the game in the UK.

    Their appears to be no strategy with this NA expansion. Was it thought about before a millionaire turned up at RFL HQ with promises of riches to be had from NA tv rights? If a millionaire turns up from Saudi Arabia or Zimbabwe or Russia with the promises of riches, will their teams be allowed in too. In their long term vision for the game, how many foreign clubs be allowed in the UK SL – we have Catalan and maybe not too long Toulouse and we have TWP. Ottawa and New York whose aim is SL. How many more will be admitted? Could SL one day comprise all foreign clubs?

    What is the long term vision for those UK clubs excluded from SL? Do they see the game dying in the UK? Do they care?

    I agree with expansion within UK/Europe, but the NA expansion is just a farce. If there is such a demand for rugby league in North America, the multi millionaires behind TWP, Ottawa and New York could look to developing the game in NA and not in a league around 3500 miles away. That would be honest expansion on an international basis. I would also envisage the aim to have a strong French league including Toulouse and Catalan.

    End the farcical NA expansion now and kick TWP out. Tell Ottawa and NY that they would not be admitted to SL at any time and see what their commitment is to the game.

  17. If they are allowed back in they should start on minus twenty points But should have the equal money from sky the same as all the other clubs There are two many greedy clubs in super league wanting all the money they got money from Bradford Bulls share they have now had Toronto share The money should be dealt out equally then everyone is on the same level But the Rfl and super league must have assurances maybe in the form of a bond that all the promises the new owners are promising are met

  18. Every issue seems like Brexit Groundhog day in Rugby League.

    I suppose the game will add this to the list of all the failures which say more about the sport than getting rid of TWP ever would.

    We should nip NY & Ottawa in the bud now to save us from the same outcome and the eternal nonsense of the same arguments over & over & over again.

  19. I’ll make it simple for rugby league fan . NO , because your clubs bank account is not as big as you mouth . Your club has little or no history in the sport . Yet holds a sport with a 125 years history to ransom under the pretentious argument to expand the game hahaha

  20. Hey I think they should stick to looking after the game in the uk,so have a playoff in the next couple of months between top championship sides to allow time to recruit

  21. No categorical not toronto should not be re admitted 2 super league, if they are rugby league will become t laughing stock of t world. What about all t clubs in championship 1 lije leigh, featherstone etc, what hope have they got, t answer being none

  22. Not a chance. If they are let back in now under the same economic conditions and the most uncertain times the world have ever seen; it would be criminal. The game needs to consolidate for a long time and fill the leagues with teams that can fulfil fixtures and travel arrangement’s

  23. Yes, I know with Covid it’s uncertain times but if we don’t look forward the game will slowly die we have to be brave and take chances

  24. Yes they should be allowed to stay in SL. There have been problems from the start about visa’s etc but the RFL and the so called SL dept have not helped in sorting this out. The RFL should have been involved from the start In helping to sort visa’s and any other issues out instead of sitting on its hands,

    They should be deducted 2 points or 4 max. They should also have been given the same concessions that Catalans had in not being relegated in the first 3 years. This would have allowed TWP the time to get things sorted. Canada is not as close as France is. Travel, visa is harder to do, and why should TWP pay for teams to travel over to Canada. Do Catalans pay for other teams to travel to France.

    Come on SL and RFL, get your fingers out and help the TWP instead of ignoring them.

  25. You have to look at the facts, and the fact is Toronto have only given to Rugby League. They haven’t taken any money at any point since their admission to league one. All English clubs have had the possibility to access furlough money and money in the terms of government loans. Don’t hinder clubs that want to contribute to Rugby League…instead we should maybe look at the viability of clubs that just take….

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