Toronto Wolfpack superstar Sonny Bill Williams has been allowed to cover up the logo of Super League sponsor Betfred on his Toronto Wolfpack jersey for religious reasons.
Williams, a 34-year-old cross code rugby international, has signed a two-year contract worth around £5m ($6.4m) to spearhead the Canadian side’s debut season in English rugby league’s top flight in 2020. He has also reportedly been given a stake in the franchise as well.
Williams, who converted to Islam in 2009, previously covered up the logos of banking sponsors while at Super Rugby union side Auckland Blues after the New Zealand Rugby Union agreed to his request. British sports betting operator Betfred has a contract with Super League through 2021.
“I think the matter has been resolved in satisfactory fashion,” Super League chief executive Robert Elstone said. “I have say a big ‘thank you’ to Betfred for the way they’ve managed this. We suspected it might be an issue, but it only really surfaced five or six days ago and Betfred have taken it on, considered it, and come up with the right answer and one that works for all parties. I’m really pleased, they showed a progressive, pragmatic approach to this.”
Williams told BBC Sport: “Whatever walk of life or purpose you stand for, you’ve got to be true to it.”
Meanwhile, Toronto is looking to play a lucrative friendly match against the Australian national team at the 30,000-capacity BMO Stadium in the Canadian city on October 24. Toronto usually plays at the 9,600-capacity Lamport Stadium.
The only issue would be the possibility of Major League Soccer team Toronto FC playing a play-off game at the venue on the same date. “The stadium has been reluctant to give us the date. I’d say it’s still under consideration,” Toronto chairman Bob Hunter said last week. “Right now that date is still on hold but we’re very committed to putting on that match.”
Toronto has signed a partnership with online healthcare services company Treated.com, whose logo will appear on the top pack of the team’s jersey this season. Toronto recently extended partnerships with Air Transat and Metrolinx/GO Transit for the 2020 Super League season and signed deals with Rugby Strength, Maple Leaf Diamonds and BLK.