Ottawa are expected to confirm on Monday that they have been given the go-ahead to play in League 1 next season: while New York, as widely reported, will have to wait 12 months to enter the RFL’s league structure.
The future of both franchises has been up in the air for some time, but next week looks set to be a pivotal week for rugby league’s expansion plans into North America.
Ottawa, who are run by Toronto founder Eric Perez after he acquired Hemel Stags’ playing licence in late-2018, have been widely expected to be admitted in 2021, and they are likely to announce at a press conference in Canada on Monday that they are going to become the latest team to join League 1.
New York will hold their own press event on Tuesday in Liverpool – where they are expected to confirm that they have been told they must wait until 2022 to follow in Ottawa’s footsteps and join League 1. The delay is understood to be down to concerns from the governing body over the logistical ramifications of two North American teams joining a part-time competition in the same season.
League Express revealed last month that New York want to enter the Challenge Cup in 2021, and an update on that matter is likely to be revealed at the press event in Liverpool.
Ottawa will play their home games at the 24,000-seater TD Place Stadium, which has housed a number of big sporting franchises from the city in the past. Further details on what the rebrand and relocation of Hemel to Canada looks like is also likely to be revealed by Perez at the event.