Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Governing Body of English Rugby League Approves Franchise Move to Ottawa

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Governing Body of English Rugby League Approves Franchise Move to Ottawa

Article excerpt

Ottawa gets green light for rugby league team

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TORONTO - Eric Perez has done it again.

A rugby league enthusiast, the Toronto native first hatched the idea of bringing the sport of sport to Canada on a fish-and-chips wrapper. That turned into the Toronto Wolfpack becoming the first transatlantic rugby league team in 2017.

Now a "super-excited" Perez has got the green light to put a franchise in Ottawa. And he has a wealth of experience from the building Wolfpack from scratch to get the ball rolling again.

"I think I'm more excited this time because I know what it takes and I know what we already have locked in, so I know that we're in a great position," he said Monday from England.

Perez heads a Canadian consortium that acquired England's Hemel Stags team in the hope of moving it to Ottawa. On Monday, the governing body of English rugby league approved the Stags relocation.

"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," the Rugby Football League said in a statement.

The Ottawa team would start in the third-tier Betfred League One, as the Wolfpack did when they started in 2017.

Perez says his group is mulling over whether to start life in 2020 or 2021.

"It's at our discretion ... Better to do it right that do it rushed," he said.

The team would play at TD Place Stadium. Perez says he has already started interviewing coaching candidates.

A separate bid to put a new club in New York was deemed in need of more work.

"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 startup operation without the benefit of existing operations already being in place, and due to some change in the ownership structure during the process," the RFL said. …

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