Sonny Bill’s crisis as Wolfpack quit season
Sonny Bill Williams' $10 million deal with the Toronto Wolfpack may not be worth the paper it's written on after the club pulled out of the UK Super League season.
Williams is likely to receive several calls from NRL clubs on Tuesday after the Wolfpack cancelled their season.
And the Super League was threatening to throw the newly promoted team out of the competition, as their 2020 departure puts a significant dent in its broadcast deal with Sky Sports in the UK.
Williams, whose wife Alana and four children have been living with him in Manchester, faces a significant bill to return home.
The club's Australian owner, billionaire mining magnate David Argyle, has personally guaranteed the payroll, but there were questions about whether Williams' contract was performance based which would be affected if he cannot play games.
Super League rejected the club's application for a $360,000 loan last week, with the Canadian-based club cancelling its season instead.
"The club's decision is especially disappointing given the imminent restart of the season. Our immediate focus is on getting the season back underway on August 2 and meeting the needs of our host broadcaster, Sky Sports," the UK Super League said in a statement.
"A discussion around the longer term consequences and the future of the Wolfpack in Super League will commence shortly."
Toronto had told the league last week that it was still able to play, but then changed tack early on Tuesday Australian time.
Toronto said in a statement: "This decision has not been taken lightly, and in consideration of a range of factors specific to the club as the only transatlantic team in the league.
"The COVID pandemic has presented unexpected and overwhelming financial challenges to the Wolfpack organisation.
"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."
There was already a cloud over Williams' UK future when it was revealed last week that his six-month visa, along with six other teammates, had expired.
The Wolfpack added: "Player and staff payroll, an issue of recent media attention, has been guaranteed by Wolfpack majority owner David Argyle and is secured by a personal guarantee to the RFL."
Martin Vickers, the Wolfpack's UK general manager, was removed from British Companies House paperwork this week.
Originally published as Sonny Bill's crisis as Wolfpack quit season