Super League clubs turn down Toronto Wolfpack's request for loan

TORONTO Wolfpack have failed in their bid to gain a cash bailout from the rest of Super League.

The Canadian club – which faces the loss of seven overseas players, including Sonny Bill Williams, because of visa problems – is believed to have asked for a loan of £200,000.

However, the other 11 top flight sides overwhelmingly voted against giving them the money.

Toronto, whose players are based in the UK, do not take any of the Sky TV cash but they have not been well received by their competitors.

Insiders say the top flight’s executive chairman Robert Elstone is far from impressed with the timing of their visa plea – especially as TV adverts for the restart, a triple header of previously postponed matches they are part of – have been filmed.

SunSport understands Toronto officials – who now do not include Martin Vickers after it was announced he is no longer a director of their UK arm – claimed they told him about the issue weeks ago and so far nothing has been done by Super League or the RFL.

However, sources say they expect to find out if the seven, whose temporary visitor visas expire at the end of the month, will be ordered out of the UK 'imminently.'

The players are only allowed to spend a total of six months in this country and the Covid-19 lockdown has meant they have had to do it all in one block.

Normally, travel to Canada for matches means they can get through a season before returning to their homeland.

But with owner David Argyle doubting they could finish the season if they are sent back, which would leave them down to 14 players, the clock is ticking.

SunSport has been told, however, the Home Office response to the problem being highlighted has been 'extremely positive’ and they expect an answer sooner rather than later.

The option of Toronto being expelled from the Super League in the most extreme case if they are unable to fulfil fixtures is open – operational rules state it will go to an Rugby Football League tribunal as they still control disciplinary and misconduct issues and the punishment is, ‘to be determined by the board.’

But Toronto, who have been included in Super League's brutal redrawn full fixture list, are confident of being in Super League next year.

Promotion and relegation with the Championship is still not formally off the table but chairman Bob Hunter feels the top flight will head across the Atlantic in 2021.

In an open letter to fans as he explained why they decided not to play in Canada this year, he wrote: “We take great comfort from knowing our fans in Canada will continue to be a part of our incredible journey, and look forward to seeing you all in Toronto for our 2021 Super League season.”

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