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RFL clubs vote to include New York and Ottowa in 2020

New York and Ottawa could soon have rugby league sides playing in the English system after British rugby league clubs voted in favour of including them in their domestic league structure next season.

Representatives from both locales presented at a Rugby Football League (RFL) meeting in Salford on Thursday. The two cities are arguing for inclusion in League 1, the lowest tier in professional rugby league in Britain. They would become the latest North American sides to join the system – reigning Championship winners Toronto Wolfpack joined in 2017.

The New York group was represented by Huddersfield businessman Ricky Wilby, while Ottawa was fronted by Toronto owner Eric Perez. The proposed club in Ottawa would be a relocation of current League 1 club Hemel Stags, who have taken the 2019 season off.

The New York franchise is already reported to have agreed commercial partnerships with Hilton Hotels, Mastercard, Macron and Virgin Atlantic. The deal with the airline includes flying visiting teams out to New York for free.