Ralph Rimmer has confirmed the RFL would consider introducing Toronto back into the Championship if they are kicked out of Super League.
The governing body’s chief executive has been in contact with club officials and Super League in the hope of finding a resolution to their withdrawal from the season, as well as their pay issue that has left the club’s players and staff owed almost two months worth of wages.
The prospect of Toronto being demoted is a fear held by owner David Argyle, but would also present an issue at Championship level, with the competition’s 14 spots already filled.
With promotion and relegation off the table there will be no vacancies, but Rimmer says the RFL would look to work around the situation as it develops.
“Currently Toronto indicate they want to be in the competition in 2021 and I know they presented to clubs last Thursday,” he said.
“There will, of course, be a degree of due diligence that needs to be done to give credibility to that possibility.
“The reasons why Toronto withdrew are completely reasonable, to be honest.
“They are an overseas club who can’t play a home game; that’s a huge burden.
“Everyone has fought hard to get the Super League competition back on and the broadcast revenues are protected, but Toronto aren’t a beneficiary of those at all.
“There’s a £16 million government loan in support, but Toronto is one of the clubs that can’t access that. But my issue is the timing of the announcement, which clearly wasn’t helpful and hurt.
“The thing I’ve stressed to everybody actually, not just Super League, is where we want to be in 2022. We need to understand what Toronto may or may not be in 2021 and we will have to give consideration to that.”
Rimmer also defended the RFL after Hull Kingston Rovers owner Neil Hudgell criticised them for not providing the Super League clubs with enough evidence of their financial stability.
“We’ve done exactly the same due diligence and law on them than any other club, but over and above that Toronto were accepted with significant consultation and approval by clubs at all levels.
“One thing we were very much aware of was that their entry to our competitions was unprecedented and no way would we have done this without the support of clubs. Some may take this opportunity to demonstrate their non-support of the Toronto project and history will evidence that we all accepted there was a degree of risk.”
On the pay situation, Rimmer added: “We’re in dialogue on a regular basis. These are third-party issues and we don’t generally get in the way of employer and employee debates. But we’re in a position to influence it, so as you would expect I’m in fairly regular contact with David (Argyle), who’s said he will honour their contracts.”