Millionaire David Argyle, who wants to sign All Black Sonny Bill Williams on a reported £2.7m one year deal, insists he will continue to bank roll the Toronto Wolfpack rugby league club despite sacking himself as CEO over a racist comment.
The Toronto-based Australian mining and resources entrepreneur made the move hours after issuing an apology to Jose Kenga, the Swinton Lions prop, who said that after approaching a teammate speaking to Argyle in the wake of the Lions’ 52-10 loss in Toronto on April 28, Argyle looked at him and said “Do they allow black people in Swinton?” and then laughed.
Kenga said he told Argyle “you can’t say that in this day and age and he just laughed, brushed it off and handed over a drink token to me.”
Argyle has been the driving force behind Toronto’s bid to break into Super League and is committed to bringing one of the “top five” players from the Rugby World Cup in Japan to the Canadian franchise.
Argyle has decided to step down both as chief executive and chairman of the Wolfpack in an open letter he wrote: “I was incredibly careless with my words when speaking to Swinton Lions player Jose Kenga after our game at Lamport Stadium on 28th April 2019. I understand the unwitting racist connotations of what I said and the distress caused to Jose.
“Jose was gracious to take a video call with me today, I apologised and we discussed the matter in depth.I also fully support Jose’s decision to go on social media. I called Swinton RFLC, which I respect and admire as a club. If any other member of our Wolfpack family had made that comment I made, on balance, regardless of context and environment, I would have fired them. Therefore that also applies to me, so I am firing myself as Chairman and CEO.
“We have begun a process to find the correct person(s) to achieve the founding objectives of the club in the role of Chairman and CEO. Interim duties will be picked up by our long standing executive team on both sides of the Atlantic.
“My financial obligations and commitments to the club, players, employees, sponsors, suppliers and broadcast partners will be met so that our objective to deliver the best club rugby in the world in Toronto, UK & France remain. I have not had the opportunity to speak with all stakeholders, I will over the next couple of days.
“The Wolfpack and our new Chairman and CEO will remain firmly behind the core values and beliefs that make up the foundation of this organisation – the world is a better place with more rugby balls in kids’ hands, we aspire to create a global centre for rugby excellence in Toronto, we actively promote opportunities for transatlantic trade and we support local family run businesses in Ontario.I am very proud of what the entire Wolfpack organisation has achieved in the last two and a half years. I leave with a heavy heart as I have disgraced rugby and my family which I love.
“I can’t tell you how much we value our relationships with rugby players, our fans, sponsors and partners, and how much your support drives us to be better each and every day. The Wolfpack will do everything in our power to repair that special bond and make things right.”
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