Game will be put first as North Americans woo RFL

Ralph Rimmer, chief executive of the RFL (Picture: Gary Longbottom)Ralph Rimmer, chief executive of the RFL (Picture: Gary Longbottom)
Ralph Rimmer, chief executive of the RFL (Picture: Gary Longbottom)
Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer insists the governing body will ignore romance when it considers the applications from New York and Ottawa to enter League 1 in 2020.

Representatives from both North American consortia, who want to follow Toronto into the league, will present their cases to a meeting of clubs in Salford on Thursday before a final decision is made by the RFL’s board of directors.

Karen Moorhouse, the RFL’s chief regulatory officer, told a media briefing in Saddleworth that the schedule would “be tight” to accommodate the clubs’ request to be admitted for the 2020 season.

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“We understand if that is going to happen, a decision will be needed quickly but, until we have all the information necessary it would be foolhardy to jump in without giving it thorough analysis,” she said.

New York would be a new club based at the Red Bull Arena while Canadian businessman Eric Perez, the man who founded Toronto three years ago, has applied to re-locate League 1 club Hemel to Ottawa.

The RFL has studied a report by chief executive Nigel Wood on New York’s application following a visit to the US city in January, 2018, and his successor revealed that marketing chief Mark Foster recently undertook a trip to Ottawa to carry out a feasibility study.

Rimmer confirmed that both American clubs would follow the example of Toronto by funding all travel and accommodation costs of visiting teams and would not take any central funding up to the end of the current television deal in 2021 but insists any decision would be made in the interests of the game as a whole. “We have to strip away the romance of it all,” he said.