The Guardian understands that club head coach Brian McDermott spoke to his players on Sunday to let them know they were unlikely to be paid on time this month. The club received a six-figure Super League loan application last week, but the Rugby Football League have insisted they received “firm assurances” about Toronto’s participation as recently as last Thursday.
However, with visa complications signifying that their foreign stars like Sonny Bill Williams are expected to leave the UK by the end of this month, Toronto has now conceded defeat and has officially withdrawn from competition. They were set to face Hull KR next weekend at Headingley, but the Super League will now work with 11 teams in 2020.
“This decision was not taken lightly,” the club said in a statement. “The Covid pandemic presented unexpected and overwhelming financial challenges for the Wolfpack. The Wolfpack would cover significant additional costs just to complete a season of matches in the UK, including Covid testing, stadium rentals, medical bills and player salary increases to line up with the rest of the world. league. “Toronto says they “fully intend” to field a team next year, but they will face severe opposition to an instant return to the Super League in 2021. The RFL has confirmed that discussions on the club’s future will now take place, but with the governing body established to confirm this week that no team will be promoted to the top flight this season, Toronto’s withdrawal creates a deplorable situation for the sport.
The Toronto team’s short-term future is unclear as to whether they can play for other clubs for the rest of the campaign. They had recently signed a deal to sign central England, Kallum Watkins, and were said to be on the verge of signing Sydney Roosters winger Ryan Hall for 2021. However, they and the rest of the sport are now facing to a nervous wait to see if the team will return at all, let alone in the Super League.