Thunder Look to Replace Wolfpack as Toronto Troubles Mount

Toronto Wolfpack’s problems continue to mount up, with the club reportedly owing several months’ wages to players, as well as having further debts to businesses in Britain and Canada.

On Monday, the club’s participation in Super League was terminated by the competition’s hierarchy, something that was almost inevitable after the Canadian outfit withdrew from the rest of this season.

The club acknowledged that Super League’s course of action disappointed them but was not unexpected.

“Toronto Wolfpack majority owner David Argyle recognises that in order to move the club forward he would need to transfer ownership of the club, and write off his personal loans,” a club statement said.

“We are currently leading discussions around a takeover with potential ownership groups from both the US and the UK. In these discussions the club have made it very clear that the new owners would need to honour all payroll commitments and future contractual obligations.”

Leutele kicked out of his home

One player whose troubles with the club have been in the news this week is Ricky Leutele.

The Samoan international centre has been able to secure a move back to the NRL, and is set to join Melbourne Storm.

His future looked less settled earlier this week when he was apparently evicted from his Manchester home, thanks to the Wolfpack not paying his rent.

His club car was also reportedly taken from him by the Wolfpack.

“The way he’s been treated is a bloody disgrace,” his agent Sam Ayoub was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

“They’ve got three kids under the age of six. They’re getting out of the house. No car. No wages since May.

“The club is supposed to pay for his airfares to get home. It’s not happening. Ricky is up for the costs himself.”

Marquee signing Sonny Bill Williams has also departed Toronto, heading back to the NRL with Sydney Roosters.

That departure followed revelations about the visa situation at Toronto, with several players having six-month visas to play in the UK, something which caused additional and unexpected problems when the Super League season was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Super League on the Tyne?

The situation around the Wolfpack now means that vultures are circling when it comes to taking the club’s place in Super League.

A report in the I newspaper states that League One club Newcastle Thunder are in the hunt. The Thunder are owned by Newcastle Rugby Limited, the same company that owns Premiership rugby union outfit Newcastle Falcons.

The Thunder want the licence so that they can be catapulted from the game’s third tier into Super League.

But they are not the only club monitoring the situation, according to the I.

The consortium that is behind the proposed New York rugby league club are also reportedly looking at the situation, with a view to taking Toronto’s licence.

New York have applied to join League One in 2022 but are yet to receive approval.

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