The Toronto Wolfpack received more good news on Tuesday. Their potential ownership group had begun negotiations with Super League commissioner Robert Elstone on Tuesday. This is according to Matthew Shaw of Total Rugby League.
Potential Toronto Wolfpack owners enter negotiations with Super League
Not much is known about the potential ownership group. However, it was confirmed by Love Rugby League that it is the same Canadian ownership group covered in a previous article. The Canadian ownership group has also met the deadline on Tuesday.
Wolfpack will speak with Super League officials @ 9:30 AM EST (2:30 PM UK time) on Tuesday to present proposal for new team ownership with formal introductions to follow. Re-entry into Super League is a deal breaker. Team expects decision to take a couple of weeks.
— WOLFPACKCITY (@wolfpackcityTO) August 31, 2020
Toronto Wolfpack Conditions for Super League and the RFL
Yes, Super League and the Rugby Football League (RFL) will want assurances from the Wolfpack. However, it also works the other way round according to Shaw of Total Rugby League. This is what Toronto Wolfpack chairman and CEO Bob Hunter said:
“There are two key elements. One, to get back into Super League and see what the go-forward would be on distribution.”
There is some optimism that the Wolfpack will be accepted into Super League. This is according to James O’Brien of the Hull Daily Mail.
Hull KR coach Tony Smith regarding Toronto Wolfpack’s chance of being accepted back into Super League, says “We’re about to make a decision and, by all accounts, it sounds like we’re going to put them back into the competition” #rugbyleague #superleague https://t.co/kq37nHKnu6
— Ben Giles (@BenGilesRL) August 27, 2020
Toronto Wolfpack fans should also be optimistic about getting central distribution from the RFL. Eric Perez revealed on Sky Sports Rugby League that the Ottawa Aces XIII has received the central distribution from the RFL.
“We purchased Hemel Hempstead because they were a member club.”
A caveat for the Wolfpack is that the Aces relocated the Hemel Hempstead franchise, which was already a member club. The Toronto Wolfpack were an expansion franchise that was born in 2016. Therefore, getting membership and distribution was easier for the Ottawa Aces XIII then the Toronto Wolfpack.
However, it is also true to say that the Ottawa Aces XIII would not exist without the success of the Toronto Wolfpack. If the Aces get central distribution then the Wolfpack should also get central distribution.
The Potential Ownership Group Wants Sonny Bill Williams
The most surprising news on Tuesday was the potential new owner’s interest in Sonny Bill Williams.
On the eve of Sonny Bill Williams' first NRL appearance in six years, Toronto Wolfpack officials have confirmed the club's new owners intend to honour his $5 million contract for next season.@NRLcom https://t.co/0G2NquqiKl
— Brad Walter (@BradWalterSport) September 1, 2020
Now there is still no certainty that Williams will return to Toronto for 2021. He is currently playing in the National Rugby League with the Sydney Roosters. He may want to continue playing in Australia and not play with the Toronto Wolfpack. However, this news should be positive. The impact of Williams playing in Toronto could be the equivalent to the “Bloody Big Deal” with Toronto FC.
However, regardless of whether the Wolfpack will have Williams in 2021 or not. There are a lot of positives in the Wolfpacks future. The fact that they are willing to even sign him back bodes well for the Wolfpack’s future.
Overview of the Toronto Wolfpack’s Current Ownership Situation
Hunter has already decided on the potential ownership group. They have begun talks with Super League. This was first reported by Shaw of Total Rugby League.
Toronto Wolfpack CEO Bob Hunter outlines the club’s plans to introduce our prospective new ownership group to the Super League this week. https://t.co/VPGwvOgaB1
— Toronto Wolfpack (@TOwolfpack) August 31, 2020
However, the potential ownership group still has not been accepted by the Betfred Super League and the RFL. There is also the possibility that the Wolfpack will get a penalty from pulling out of Super League in late July.
However, saying that, this is the best possible news for the Toronto Wolfpack. This potential ownership group has a five-year business plan for the Toronto Wolfpack according to Neil Davidson of The Canadian Press.
They are also going to pay their players immediately. This would happen when/if they are approved by Super League and the RFL. According to Shaw of Total Rugby League, Hunter predicts the future of the Toronto Wolfpack to be finalized by the end of September.
New Toronto #Wolfpack ownership will pay players immediately once/if team sale is approved by Super League, team says. Wolfpack are now 3 months in arrears.
— WOLFPACKCITY (@wolfpackcityTO) September 1, 2020
“Main photo credit”