Clubs vote in favour of New York and Ottawa

New York and Ottawa are one step closer to being included in the English league structure after clubs voted in favour by a comfortable majority.

Representatives from New York and Ottawa presented their bids to clubs at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium on Thursday and have been given support by RFL member clubs.

While the decision is an undoubted boost to the hopes of both franchises, it does not guarantee either bid will be accepted, with the RFL board set to make the final decision. However, it is most certainly a huge hurdle crossed for both.

RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer said at a media briefing on Wednesday that the support of clubs would largely determine whether the two clubs would be accepted into the league structure. A failure to garner support would have almost certainly seen both clubs rejected.

The RFL will now go about doing their due diligence on the respective owners of the two clubs, while answering any unanswered questions from Thursday’s meeting.

The RFL board will then make a decision, although a final outcome may not come until May.

Simon Johnson, a Senior Independent Non Executive Director of the RFL said: “We had a good meeting, both clubs presented and we then had a discussion where every single club at every level spoke and contributed their views.

“There were a range of views that were being put forward, and a number of questions and comments put to the board. At the end of it I called for an indicative vote on a particular question – and the position is that the clubs were, in principle, supportive of – by a comfortable majority – the proposals for both Ottawa and New York to join the competitions.”

Five Super League clubs; Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos, Salford Red Devils, St Helens and Warrington Wolves were all present, along with all the clubs from Championship and League 1. Super League chief executive Robert Elstone was not present.