RFL Ottawa Aces XIII move to England permanently: Analysis

Super League Grand Final Rugby League match ball at Old Trafford

ANALYSIS – For RFL Ottawa Aces XIII fans, it was not the best news to hear. The RFL Ottawa Aces are no more and will relocate permanently to England.

RFL Ottawa Aces XIII move permanently to England

In the Ottawa Aces XIII club statement, this was said according to the Ottawa Aces XIII:

“It is with heavy hearts we must announce our club will be forced to permanently relocate back to England, and a more stable operating environment.”

It was stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had a major role in the decision being made. An educated guess might be the rising numbers in England, which was 41, 181 on October 22. This is because the COVID-19 cases in the provinces Ontario and Quebec (Ottawa is quite close to Quebec) are quite low in comparison. Ontario had 492 cases according to Miriam Katawazi of CTV News Toronto on October 22. This is while Quebec had 434 COVID-19 cases according to Luca Caruso-Moro of CTV News Montreal. Rugby league fans will then point out why is the RFL team relocating permanently to England. Well, there are complications with travel between countries with COVID-19.

Potential places to relocate in England and what about the NARL Ottawa Aces XIII

If Mick Gledhill is correct, the RFL Ottawa Aces XIII will play in either Harrogate or Liverpool next year. Not a lot of information is known at this time. The news should be known though in a couple of weeks.

The Ottawa Aces XIII was introduced as an RFL club in 2020 but had to delay their entry for the 2021 RFL season. They were then introduced as one of the 14 founding members of the North American Rugby League on March 31, 2021. It is unclear what this means for the NARL Aces though. There was no mention of the NARL in the club statement. Also, travelling between Canada and U.S. for sports games should not be a problem as it is happening in MLS, NBA, NHL, and MLB.

Plans for the 2022 NARL season

It is unfortunate news for Ottawa and Canada rugby league fans. There is still hope though with the Canada Co-Operative Championship Rugby League and the Toronto Wolfpack in the North American Rugby League. Also, this is what Eric Perez said about Tim Baines’ article on the Ottawa Sun back in April.

“With RFL, there are questions,” said Aces president Eric Perez. “When are we going to travel over there? It could happen next year … or the year after. Right now, that’s in flux. This league is not in flux.”

Now, this happened before the NARL had their difficulties with having a 2021 NARL season. Still, the Toronto Wolfpack played their first game since 2019 last month in a Canada Cup win over DC Cavalry. It was strange that Ottawa did not participate in the Canada Cup, but everyone should know answers soon. Furthermore, it is important to note that there was no mention of the NARL in the Aces statement. Until there is an official statement from the Aces or the NARL that Ottawa will not be part of the competition, the assumption will be that they are still in it for now. The NARL are expected to start their season in May 2022 according to Greig Box Turnbull of TicketCo. The schedule of the league has yet to be announced.

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