Toronto Wolfpack

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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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No, yes....maybe....

Toronto takeover outcome still uncertain
MATTHEW SHAW 23/08/2020

The takeover of Toronto Wolfpack remains up in the air as the club looks to finalise a deal with new investors.

Officials were hoping that a new buyer would have been secured by the weekend, with one consortium showing increased intent in purchasing the club.

But a delay has stopped a deal being finalised, with the club’s staff informed on Friday evening that there was a hold-up in Canada.

There is pressure on the Wolfpack to complete a takeover, with Super League setting the club a deadline of August 31st to outline their plans for next season, should they wish to re-enter the competition.

However, League Express can reveal that there is a growing belief among Super League that the competition must include twelve teams next season, something that hugely works in Toronto’s favour.

At first, a majority were in favour of running with an 11-team competition, with Super League chief executive Robert Elstone among those to endorse the proposal.

However, as the conversation has developed more clubs are now favouring a 12-team competition, and ideally one that includes Toronto.

St Helens owner Eamonn McManus is among those in favour of Toronto’s return as he outlined in League Express last week.

However, that is dependent on Toronto completing a takeover and satisfying the conditions of re-entry outlined by Super League, which are thought to relate to financial viability and the club’s long-term prospects.

“We are working very hard and aggressively to see if we can present a new owner in the next week to ten days,” chairman Bob Hunter told PA earlier this week.

“We’re still working officially with three different groups, but one owner is getting closer to the top.

“We have been asked by Super League to make that presentation, along with a full set of financial supporting documents, to them by the end of this month and we’re still focused on that target date.

“Super League and the RFL would have to approve the owner and, if we can get over that hurdle, the Super League owners would have to support us coming back into Super League next year.

“I think we can meet the deadline.”


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

Post by pussycat »

That article sounds slightly more promosing.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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A little.
I still don’t think they will make it, and by that I mean if they get a buyer, their re-entry Into rugby league will depend on the RFL. Their re-entry into super League depends both on the super league hierarchy and then the clubs, undoubtedly a problem.
As they have lost most of their players, and it is not unreasonable to assume that they would not be a totally attractive proposition for new “class” players, reinstatement in super league would be another disaster.
If they get back in the RFL it should be in the Championship or lower.
If put back in super league, get ready for another very bumpy year.
If.....


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Hull KR, another Super League club is up for sale.
25/8..Hull News
Hull KR up for sale as Neil Hudgell prepares to stand down
Neil Hudgell will stand down as Hull KR chairman in December with a view to relinquishing control of the club.

Hudgell took the reins at Craven Park in 2004 and put together a team that went on to win promotion to Super League two years later.
Rovers have spent only one season outside the top flight since then but have struggled to compete in recent years.

Hudgell took sole ownership of the club last year following Rob Crossland’s departure and 2020 has been the toughest of his tenure, with the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic leaving KR in an “incredibly precarious position”.

He has now decided to step aside and will consider any offers for the club in the coming months.

"Lockdown has given me a chance to reflect on the sport, the club and my personal situation," a statement from Hudgell read.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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The Star
24/8
Financially troubled Toronto Wolfpack move a step closer to new ownership

The financially troubled Toronto Wolfpack have identified a possible buyer whom they hope will help revive the transatlantic rugby league team and keep it in England’s Super League next season.

The potential new owner is North American and already holds a stake in the team, according to Wolfpack chair and CEO Bob Hunter.

“So they understand the game and understand what’s going on,” he added.

The plan is to keep the franchise in Toronto.

The team, which announced July 20 that it could not afford to play out the remainder of the season due to the financial challenges posed by the global pandemic, had been looking at three interested parties.

“We’re getting down to the short strokes,” said Hunter. “I think we have come to a point of one ownership group that we are ready to recommend above the others.

“We’ve got to get something to Super League either late this week or early next week — and to the RFL (Rugby Football League) at the same time — which would allow them to vet the owner. They have to approve a change in ownership, which is totally understandable.”

The path to new ownership was set when majority owner David Argyle announced he was stepping away from the club so it could find a new lease on life. Argyle, a Toronto-based Australian who works in mining and natural resources in emerging markets, says he is no longer able to fund the club.

Perez????


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Mirror
25/8/2020

Toronto Wolfpack boss optimistic over new owner after admitting the club embarrassed Super League
Bob Hunter has been holding talks with three potential takeover bids and says one is now in pole position.
Toronto Wolfpack chairman Bob Hunter admits the club “embarrassed” Super League this year - but says they will propose a new owner to the competition in a matter of days.
The Canadian expansion club dramatically pulled out of the league in July due to a combination of serious financial shortfalls, visa problems and logistic issues. Current owner David Argyle has admitted he cannot sustain the club, and its players - including superstar signing Sonny Bill Williams - have not been paid for three months.

Hunter has been in talks with three prospective bidders, and says the club will propose one - a North American businessman who was an original investor of the the Wolfpack - to Super League and the RFL “within the next week or so”. The interested party has confirmed he will meet all current salary liabilities on takeover, and Hunter is cautiously positive that the club can finally find a way forward again.

Hunter said: “If we can get this new owner over the finish line then I’m optimistic for sure. I know he has the resources for long-term sustainability.
“ Like we’re seeing with all sports in North America right now, it’s tough with no fans in the stands. You have to have the staying power to be able to live through those cycles of financial wins and losses, and I wholly believe he has those resources.

“We’ve been evaluating three proposals from three different groups - one in the UK and two in North America. We’re at a point now where we’re ready to come forward to the RFL and Super League with the introduction of one of those groups. We’re hoping to do that within the next week or so, and at some point we want to introduce that new potential owner to the other Super League owners, and proceed to a formal presentation.”
“We would look to outline how we plan to approach the next three years through a business plan as part of the presentation to the leagues. We’re hoping we can wrap this thing up literally within the next 10 to 14 days. The other two groups need to make a decision on whether or not they want to continue.”

On the preferred bidder, Hunter added: “They were one of the original investors way back when, but they’ve not been an active participant over the last three years. They have worked on a number of different things with David Argyle but this is a new foray for them.
“They’ve been through the numbers and we’ve given them all the information they require over the last three weeks. They’re certainly coming in with their eyes wide open.

“We ran amok this year and embarrassingly we had to step down. Too many things built up against us, but we embarrassed the league and the other 11 owners. We’d like the opportunity to prove that we deserve to be a full member.”

Securing a full membership of the RFL and access to central funding from the sport’s TV deal is seen as crucial to the Wolfpack’s long-term future by Hunter, an experienced sports administrator based in Toronto who is trying to save the club without pay himself. He says he has also been encouraged by a growing move within Super League - including St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus - to have 12 teams in the competition again next year

Hunter said: “The TV funding issue is a matter between the owner and the league, but without a doubt it would make it a more sustainable model moving forward this year and would be critical to the on-going success of the club. It’s important because one, we’ve made it pretty obvious we’d love to stay in Super League, and secondly anyone else coming in will be very interested in what the league’s position on this is.”
Hunter remains in regular contact with Wolfpack coach Brian McDermott, who held a Zoom call with the club’s players on Tuesday to update them on the latest situation. Hunter added: “The news was not good - we’re not painting a rosy picture at the moment because we’ve got to get this owner over the finish line. When that happens he’s more than happy to meet the current liabilities that sit with us.
“ Unfortunately next Tuesday is another pay day and we’re struggling right now to make that pay roll. We’ve got to get moving quickly so we can fix the damage we’ve done, and that’s what this call was about.

“I’m optimistic that a new owner will be accepted by the RFL and Super League, and the minute he signs is the minute the players will get paid the balance they're owed. That’s also the pressure we’re under to try and get this thing done because we know it’s been tough for the players.

“I speak to Brian almost every day, and we continue to plug away every day with new tasks to try and get this thing behind us. There are a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross before we get to the finish line, but in general I’m quite happy with where we sit today. I’m talking to both leagues about the schedule and just trying to focus on that new owner and save a whole bunch of jobs and a team.”


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Hull Live 27/8/20

Hull KR head coach Tony Smith has revealed Toronto Wolfpack are on the brink of being accepted back into Super League.

The Canadian club pulled out of the 2020 season less than two weeks before the restart, citing financial challenges and visa complications.
Super League has continued as an 11-team competition and in the background the extent of Toronto’s crisis has become apparent, with players going without pay since May and some being left stranded in the UK.

The Wolfpack are currently negotiating with three prospective buyers after owner David Argyle decided to walk away as they aim to convince Super League they are ready to return in 2021.

Smith understands that Toronto will rejoin the competition next year come what may, suggesting it played a part in Neil Hudgell’s decision to leave the sport.

“I could see him getting disillusioned with some stuff throughout some challenging times,” said Smith.

Some of the things have been out of our control, such as the pandemic, but some are things you could never have imagined would test us.

“But some of the things that are within our control too and some of the way our sport is administered and run and some of the goings on.

“At the moment we’re all getting ready to put a club back into the competition next year that opted out and hadn’t paid players for months and months.

“We’re about to make a decision and, by all accounts, it sounds like we’re going to put them back into the competition.

It’s things that are very, very puzzling.”

“There’s some young people out there who haven’t been paid for months and months and months and have mortgages and rent not paid and we’re even considering putting that team back in the competition.”

“It makes you scratch your head about a whole lot of things.”


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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LWS Rugby News
Toronto Wolfpack targeting North American ownership group
By Raheem Bashir - August 26, 2020

The Toronto Wolfpack has some positive news regarding their own situation. Three ownership groups have shown interest in the Toronto Wolfpack. There are two ownership groups from North America and one from Great Britain. However, it seems that one North American ownership is coming out as the favourite.

The Toronto Wolfpack Possible North American Ownership Takeover

The preferred North American ownership group from Canada

The favoured ownership from North America seems to be from Canada according to Matthew Shaw of Total Rugby League.

The interested possible ownership group from Canada was an original investor of the Toronto Wolfpack according to Gareth Walker of the Mirror. This proposed ownership group will meet all current salary liabilities with the takeover.

Unfortunately, this issue looks like it will not be resolved until the possible new ownership group comes in:

“Unfortunately next Tuesday is another pay day and we’re struggling right now to make that pay roll. We’ve got to get moving quickly so we can fix the damage we’ve done, and that’s what this call was about.?”

Two other ownership groups for the Toronto Wolfpack

There is one European and another North American ownership group. The European ownership group seems to be the second preferred ownership group according to Hunter on Marc Petitpas’ Lessons in Leadership podcast.

“It’s just a matter of we’re trying to sell the team now we’ve got a couple of potential buyers, one in the UK, one here, both of them will keep it in Toronto.”

However, since that podcast episode, the Canadian ownership group has emerged as the favourite.

Nothing is known about the other North American ownership group. However, it is assumed that it is the same American ownership group that showed interest earlier this month. This was when the New York City and Newcastle Rugby Limited showed interest.

Update on the New York City ownership group

The ownership group that seemed destined to buy the Toronto Wolfpack was the New York City rugby league bid. Ricky Wilby is the one spearheading the potential New York City rugby league bid. However, he was willing to keep the team in Toronto.

He stated the reason why he is not investing in the Toronto Wolfpack, has to do with the minority shareholder according to Neil Davidson of The Canadian Press:

“And that’s all while not owning 100 percent of the club,” he added. “The minority shareholders were really hanging on, wanting to be paid out.”

Furthermore, it also looks like Newcastle Rugby Unlimited Group has withdrawn. They wanted to replace the Toronto Wolfpack in Super League with the Newcastle Thunder. The Thunder currently play in League One, which is the third-tier of the Rugby Football League.

Overview of the Toronto Wolfpack ownership situation

Toronto Wolfpack fans got some good news this week regarding potential ownership. However, they now have three ownership groups interested in buying the Toronto Wolfpack. The frontrunner is a potential Canadian ownership group that already has a stake with the Toronto Wolfpack.

The other two potential ownership groups are also interested in buying the Toronto Wolfpack. However, as previously mentioned, these groups may be out of the running if the Canadian ownership is approved. This is what Hunter said according to the Mirror:

“We’re at a point now where we’re ready to come forward to the RFL and Super League with the introduction of one of those groups. We’re hoping to do that within the next week or so, and at some point we want to introduce that new potential owner to the other Super League owners, and proceed to a formal presentation.”

There is some other good news for the Toronto Wolfpack. According to Shaw of League Express, Super League is keen to have 12 teams.

This means that if the Wolfpack get ownership approved, they would likely be the 12th team in Super League next year. One could have a top Championship team come into Super League. The London Broncos and Featherstone Rovers already stated their intention of trying to accomplish that. However, it is likely the last case-scenario. Other teams like Toulouse Olympique XIII and the Bradford Bulls will not be happy with the prospect of being left out.

Overall, this is positive news for the Toronto Wolfpack. There are still some hurdles to get over. However, the Toronto Wolfpack has good chances of getting a Canadian ownership group.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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So, Never in doubt! :cheers:


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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I still have grave doubts.....but next week should tell.

I understand (from a fan site, not official news) that 12 teams are the go for next year, and the 12th team will be determined by a voluntary knockout comp from the lower divisions.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Hull KR news

Latest on Toronto takeover

Toronto Wolfpack are confident of meeting next week’s deadline to submit an application to rejoin Super League in 2021.

The Canadian club, who were promoted from the Championship last October, pulled out of Super League in July, citing visa and financial issues exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, and had their participation agreement formally terminated earlier this month.

Current owner David Argyle admitted he could no longer sustain the club and the players, including New Zealand dual-code international Sonny Bill Williams, revealed they have not been paid for over three months.

Toronto chairman and chief executive Bob Hunter has been in talks with four prospective bidders and says the front runner is a North American businessman who was an original investor of the Wolfpack in 2016.

“As per the documentation requested by Super League, we’ve been working diligently and quickly to try to pull that together on a recommended ownership group,” Hunter told the PA news agency.

“That deadline is next Tuesday and we fully intend to have absolutely the lion’s share of that material in their hands by then.

“If we need an extension, we’ll ask for it but right now we’re focused on getting it done on time.

“Following that, they will take the appropriate time to study it and I am sure come back with questions.”


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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From total rugby

Toronto face crucial talks with Elstone
MATTHEW SHAW 30/08/2020

The prospective new ownership group of Toronto Wolfpack will speak with Super League’s Robert Elstone on Tuesday as takeover talks continue.

The Wolfpack has identified a preferred consortium to take the club forward and have started the process of formalising the move with the RFL and Super League.

Toronto will provide Super League with documentation outlining their future plans on Tuesday after the competition outlined the terms and conditions of their re-admission to Super League next year.

Wolfpack Chairman Bob Hunter confirmed to League Express on Sunday that they would have finalised their documentation in time for Tuesday, with the Wolfpack confident they have been able to answer all the questions asked of them by Super League.

On the same day, Hunter will introduce the ownership group to Elstone.

“We have a call on Tuesday with Robert Elstone and we’ll be introducing him on a one-on-one basis to the ownership group,” Hunter told League Express on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re also forwarding all the documentation to Super League required for re-admission. We’re hoping that late next week or the following week, based on guidance from Super League, to have a call with our owner to the other eleven owners and let them speak with that group and hopefully get a read of the integrity of the guy and the stability of the company.

“Then we’ll sit and wait and hopefully get Super League and the RFL to make a decision on us being allowed back into the competition next season.

“The list of criteria was extensive, we’ve been working on it all week and all this weekend between a couple of guys in the UK and two or three here in Canada. We’ve still some work today (Sunday) and we’re fortunate that tomorrow is a holiday for you guys. But there’s nothing there I don’t think we’re able to answer.”

Crucially, while Super League has sought assurances from the Wolfpack, the Wolfpack want some assurances from Super League before the ownership group completes their takeover.

“There are two key elements. One, to get back into Super League and see what the go-forward would be on distribution.

“We have to understand that there could be, as I think there had been in previous cases, a penalty. If there is, we need to understand that, but really it comes down to staying in Super League and getting distribution.

“Once that is completed and the new ownership know what the deal is going forward, it’s a case of formalising the paperwork over here.

“We think we’ve got a squad today that we can rebuild and can be competitive next year. I talk to Brian McDermott every three or four days and he’s got plans for what he’ll do with the squad if we get things over the line.”

Hunter also predicted that the future of the club would be finalised by the end of September.
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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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That the CEO wasn’t paid since joining the club clearly indicates they had money issues long before COVID. Their accomodation set up for visiting teams and the debacle with local tv coverage convinced me that they were in trouble long ago.

Still the recent news items seem to be positive.
The “decision” date seems to have been put back a bit.
I retain my reservations about them getting back in the top league.
The RFL and Super League would not want to be “embarrassed” again and they would surely be a less attractive proposition now than initially with The league, players and sponsors.
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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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Wolfpack still want SBW as he prepares for Roosters comeback
Author
Brad Walter
NRL.com Senior Reporter
Timestamp
Tue 1 Sep 2020, 04:01 PM
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.

Williams has been named by Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson to make his eagerly awaited return from the interchange bench in jersey No.17 for Saturday night's match against 2019 grand final opponents Canberra at GIO Stadium.

While Williams did not train with the team on Monday, Roosters officials revealed he worked out on his own as part of a conditioning plan formulated by the club ahead of his first match since the Wolfpack's March 5 clash with Leeds at Headingley.

Toronto's decision to withdraw from the Super League competition on July 20 paved the way for Williams to return to the Roosters for the remainder of the season in a bid to help the club become the first since Parramatta (1981-83) to win three consecutive premierships.

If they are successful, it would also be the dual code superstar’s third NRL premiership after helping Canterbury and the Roosters to grand final wins in 2004 and 2013.

However, he remains contracted to Wolfpack for next season after signing a $10 million two-year deal and Toronto’s prospective new owners are due to speak with Super League CEO Robert Elstone this week about the club’s return to the competition in 2021.

The new ownership group, who have been identified as the preferred consortium to take over from David Argyle, will also table a five-year business plan and NRL.com was told that they were anticipating taking on "all contractual liabilities", including Williams’ massive deal.

Toronto coach Brian McDermott, who is respected highly by Williams, is ready to take charge of the team again once the Wolfpack are given the green light to return to Super League next season, with a final decision expected in late September.

Wolfpack signed Williams because of his drawing power as much as his on-field talent and his ability to generate interest has again been highlighted by the demand for tickets to Saturday night’s match in Canberra.


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Re: Toronto Wolfpack

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The Mirror
1/9/20
Toronto Wolfpack hold new owner talks with Super League and outline Sonny Bill Williams stance
Canadian club are hoping to rejoin competition in 2021 despite controversial exit this year.
Toronto Wolfpack’s prospective new owner has held talks with Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone as the Canadian club bids to rejoin the competition.

The Wolfpack withdrew from this year’s restarted Super League amid crippling financial issues, and have not paid their players and staff for three months. But the unnamed Canadian businessman looking to take the club forward has pledged to honour those missed payments and today held discussions for the first time with Elstone.

RFL officials Ralph Rimmer and Karen Moorhouse, plus Toronto chairman and chief executive Bob Hunter, were also present, with the latter encouraged by the meeting.

Hunter said: “Today was going over what the process is for the next few weeks. It’s really a matter of submitting later today all the requested documentation that Super League put to us, and them taking a week to go through it because it is quite extensive.

“They might want to come back and forth on questions, then we hope to have a call with the potential new owner and the other Super League owners, although that has not yet been set. After that there is no timetable and it’s in their hands then. They can invite us back into the family or say that it doesn’t work for them.”

On the prospective new owner’s identity, Hunter said: “He has requested that we keep that quiet at the moment and wants to make sure that the deal goes through. He is a Canadian and it was a very congenial call on both sides.

“They are going to want to see our long-term vision and sustainability and that’s the key. They don’t want to get themselves into the predicament again that we put them through. I thought it was a good call and that we can start to build a positive relationship

“We’ve got to convince the Super League executive team and the other owners that we can bring value to the table by coming back. I’m hoping this presentation we've put together, which is very extensive, shows that Toronto can add value to Super League.”

Hunter also responded to reports in Australia that the club is keen for superstar signing Sonny Bill Williams to complete the second year of his contract in 2021. Williams is due to make his return for former club Sydney Roosters on a short-term deal this weekend.

Hunter added: “When you’ve got a marquee or a world brand like Sonny, you want to retain that talent. We’ve had discussions about Sonny returning for the last year of his contract - unless for any reasons he didn’t want to come back, we are certainly interested in him coming back. The owner hasn’t specifically stated that, it’s been a discussion we’ve had about the whole squad.”


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