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MLR reveals ‘unfortunate’ league update before 2024 season

By Finn Morton
A Toronto Arrows fan is seen prior to the match against Rugby New York at Memorial Field on February 26, 2023 in Mount Vernon, New York. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images for Rugby New York)

Major League Rugby has confirmed the unfortunate news that the Toronto Arrows will cease operations immediately and not compete in the 2024 MLR season.

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Both the Arrows organisation and MLR “explored all avenues in an effort to maintain the club’s presence” in the competition, but the Canadian club had to voluntarily withdraw.

“It is with heavy hearts we formally announce that the Arrows will not participate in the 2024 MLR season,” Toronto Arrows General Manager Tim Matthews said.

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“Despite extensive efforts, carrying on following the passing of Bill Webb was simply too great a challenge for the club to overcome. We are working with the League office and contracted players regarding next steps – and in the spirit of the club’s co-founder, we are also working with partners regarding the Arrows Academy and the continued development of Canadian rugby talent.

“To our fans, friends, partners and the broader rugby community, thank you for your support over the years.”

Toronto, which was the only club in MLR based outside of the United States of America, made the semi-finals in their inaugural season in 2019.

While the Arrows have failed to qualify for the playoffs in the years since, Toronto has shown signs of growth and promise.

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MLR CEO Nic Benson has suggested that the competition will explore all options “to bring a team back to Canada in the future.”

“We’re deeply grateful to the leadership of the Toronto Arrows who have cared so deeply about supporting and growing the game of rugby in Canada.  Our immediate focus is on doing right by the Club and its players, as operations wind down,” Benson said in a statement.

“While this news is unfortunate, and we feel for all individuals associated with the Arrows organization, the health of MLR remains strong and we look forward to exploring options to bring a team back to Canada in the future.”

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Eabn 6 hours ago
Open-minded Schmidt takes hands-on approach to Australia challenge

Who cares - boring is good when it comes to Media - they don’t bug you as much. While the focus is on the resurrection of the Wallabies, don’t forget the grass roots - Any opportunity you have to visit, train or promote Rugby down here in Melbourne / Regional is pretty much imperative given the current situation with the Rebels. I’m talking about us grass roots clubs and more so, clubs in the West of Melbourne who are being absolutely smashed by Rugby League and who have been contributing directly to the game down here long before the Rebels emerged and no doubt will do so well after they may be gone. All I have heard is all about the elite level, not the grass roots level so while the talk is about “ The Wallabies” and “Super Rugby Pacific” get back to the roots of Union and include us in your plans. So Phil Waugh and those leaders within RugbyAustralia, it’s on you to ensure the bottom feeders, so to speak, are included in all the talk and the funding if you want Union to regain ground and more respect within the Union and also the broader sporting fraternity. Given you have been in Melbourne a number off times over the last month, extending the courtesy of having a meet and greet with Victorian grass root clubs eluded you for some reason. Do we count or matter in RA’s and yours bigger picture?? Ean Drummond - Club Founder/President - Wyndham City Rhinos RUFC Inc. Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne.

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