Toronto’s fate in the balance

September 25th is set to go down as one of the biggest days in Rugby League’s recent history with two major decisions to be made.

The Super League board has set a deadline of a week on Friday to make a call on the Wolfpack’s reapplication to the competition, while a decision on running Super League as an eleven- or twelve-team competition should the Wolfpack be kicked out will also be determined.

The Wolfpack, whose prospective new owner Carlo LiVolsi has made it clear that he sees a potential bright future for the club in Canada’s biggest city, have already made a submission in support of their bid to remain in Super League in 2021, and Super League (Europe) officials have prepared a timeline of key dates to determine what the future holds for both the Wolfpack and Super League in 2021.

By September 18th, the Super League executives will provide an appraisal of Canada’s value to Super League, with Super League chief executive Robert Elstone apparently unconvinced of its value.

Crucially, an appraisal of the Wolfpack’s application is also set to be submitted on the 18th, which will include input from both Super League and the RFL.

By the same date, the RFL will have confirmed the sanctions that would be imposed on the club if its re-entry were to be accepted.

A recommendation on Toronto will be sent from the executives to the clubs on September 21st, before a final decision is made by Super League board on the 25th.

There are two key elements that will sway the decision. First, the strategic vision for expansion in Canada and second, the viability of Toronto’s bid, which will need to provide assurances on the legitimacy of their prospective new owner and an agreement on their participation conditions.

If Toronto’s return is accepted, LiVolsi will be invited to present in front of the clubs in the week commencing September 28th.

Super League is yet to decide what will happen if they do not allow the Wolfpack back and if they should wish to ‘promote’ another side.

Key components to the decision are the financial repercussions and how a decision on who to promote would be determined.

Should the competition decide to run with twelve teams, but without Toronto, clubs interested in applying will have to submit their bid by October 16th, with a final decision then to be made week commencing October 26th.

If Super League opts to run with eleven teams next year, there will then be consideration of promotion and relegation at the end of 2021, with the possibility of two teams being promoted from the Championship.

A proposal to promote the winner of the competition, and then have a Million Pound Game between Super League’s bottom team and the Championship’s second-placed team, has been mooted.

A decision on that, however, is not set to be finalised for a number of months.

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