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Ottawa application to join RFL approved

The Rugby Football League (RFL) have approved the application of Ottawa to become the second North American city to place a team in the English-based league. The Ottawa team will be a relocation of League 1 side Hemel Stags who took 2019 off. An application for a New York team remains pending with 2021 a likely start-up date. New York beginning play in 2020 has been ruled out since it would be a new startup not a relocation.

The two clubs would join Toronto Wolfpack as clubs in the English Rugby League system.

“The application for Hemel Stags to be relocated to Ottawa has been accepted in principle – although both the RFL and the consortia have agreed that some further work is required before it can be confirmed that the Stags will be ready to start the 2020 season in Ottawa,” an RFL statement said.

“With regard to the New York bid, the RFL and the consortium have agreed that entry into League One in time for 2020 is not achievable without placing the club under undue pressure, because it is a start-up operation without the benefit of existing operations already being in place, and due to some change in the ownership structure during the process,” the statement said.