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12 Apr 2019

Ottawa and New York make their cases to join English Rugby League
BY Tom Walker

The first overseas club in the RFL, the Toronto Wolfpack, won promotion to the Championship in its first season

The first overseas club in the RFL, the Toronto Wolfpack, won promotion to the Championship in its first season
photo: RFL

Representatives of proposed rugby teams based in the Canadian city of Ottawa and New York, US have presented their plans to join the English Rugby Football League (RFL).

The clubs made their case for joining the league system in a special meeting held yesterday (Thursday 12 April) and the RFL board will now "investigate the feasibility" of the proposals.

RFL is the sport's national governing body and oversees the sport's league system below the top tier, the Rugby Super League.

The meeting included RFL's all existing Championship and League One clubs. The clubs heard presentations from a consortium aiming to relocate the current Hemel Stags club to Ottawa, while a separate consortium is planning to launch a new club in New York.

Plans to add more international clubs to the RFL comes after the successful entry of Toronto Wolfpack to the system.

The Canadian club was inaugurated into League One in 2017 and won promotion to the Championship in its first year.

According to Simon Johnson, the RFL’s senior non-executive director who chaired the Championship and League One forum, said there was an appetite among the English clubs to welcome more global entries.

“The clubs were in principle supportive, by a comfortable majority, of the proposals for both Ottawa and New York to join the competitions, and for the RFL Board to continue to exercise its discretion to negotiate with both clubs, and to make a decision in due course," Johnson said.

The Championship is the second tier of rugby league in England. The top tier – the Super League – has already stated that it will introduce guidelines which would make any overseas side subject to "further scrutiny", should they gain promotion from the Championship.



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