Rugby-Toronto withdraw from Super League restart due to COVID-19

adds NZ topic code, no change to story

July 20 (Reuters) - Toronto Wolfpack have decided to withdraw from the August restart of Super League Europe due to financial challenges from the COVID-19 outbreak, the Rugby League club said on Monday.

Toronto, who are last in the Super league with an 0-6 record, said they fully intend to field a team in 2021.

The league's only trans-Atlantic club said if they had kept playing this season the club would have had to cover significant additional costs to complete the campaign in the UK including testing, stadium rentals and medical costs.

"The COVID pandemic has presented unexpected and overwhelming financial challenges to the Wolfpack organisation," the club said in a statement.

"Greatly reduced ticket, sponsorship, merchandise and game day revenue streams have resulted from the loss of all 11 of the team's home Super League games in Toronto."

Rugby League's 12-team Super League, which suspended play in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled to resume on Aug. 2 without spectators and at a single venue.

Wolfpack drew plenty of attention prior to the season when they acquired New Zealand center and twice World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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