Canadian rugby league team Toronto Wolfpack failed in its bid to be re-admitted to Europe's top division.
Toronto withdrew from its inaugural season in the Super League in July, with its ownership citing financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and expressed hope it could return next year under new ownership.
However, a meeting of the Super League board rejected Toronto's submission by a vote of 8-4, with one abstention.
“We’re naturally disappointed,” said Bob Hunter, Wolfpack's chairman and chief executive, who received the news via a phone call from Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone.
“I thought we put a pretty good submission together. At the end of the day, there were a few different questions that probably didn’t get answered, so disappointed but understood.”
The club was formed in 2016 by Canadian entrepreneur Eric Perez. It won promotion twice in three years to claim a place in the Super League.
Toronto played in front of crowds of 9000 in its second-tier Championship season but hopes of capitalizing on the signing of Sonny Bill Williams for 2020 were scuppered by an inability to play any games in Toronto because of the pandemic.
Hunter said Toronto businessman Carlo LiVolsi, the club’s prospective new owner, had no interest in joining either the third-tier League 1 or the Championship.
“We could certainly entertain a new owner but we’re definitely out of Super League in 2021," Hunter said.
“Whether we re-apply to the RFL going forward, I can’t really say. It’s just too early.”
Super League must decide whether to run with 11 clubs in 2021 or find a 12th member.