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15 April 2019

Swinton Lions can confirm that the club is supportive of the North American bids and expansion of the game.

The board of Swinton Lions have expressed their support of the game’s expansion after last week’s RFL meeting.

A special meeting of Championship and League One clubs in Salford took place last Thursday and as a result it was agreed for the Rugby Football League to continue investigating the feasibility of two separate bids for clubs in North America.

Lions Chairman Andy Mazey and Operations Director Stephen Wild attended the meeting and heard presentations from one consortium aiming to relocate Hemel Stags to Ottawa in Canada, and a separate consortium looking to launch a new club in New York.

The final decision on each of the bids will be made by the Board of the Rugby Football League, however Swinton Lions along with the majority are supportive in principle.

Andy Mazey commented: “It’s  fair to say we came away suitably impressed. Subject to full and final due diligence on both of the bids being concluded, Swinton Lions are supportive and have faith in the RFL to conclude this process in the best interests of all its member clubs as soon is practically possible.

“We at Swinton clearly can’t control the direction of travel the sport is taking or live in the past so we either go with what gives us the best opportunity to attract the vital broadcast and commercial revenue moving forward to ultimately sustain the sport, or we stand still and slowly die.

“We are confident that the hard work and investment at our club since 2017 when I took over has not been in vain, on the contrary it has put us in position to become a key part of the sports future. If we don’t embrace change the alternative post 2021 is pretty grim and does not bare thinking about.

“The game is clearly looking towards globalisation, big city’s and sustainable expansion. We have a big opportunity to align as we are a Manchester club with an M27 postcode. We’ve a rich history in a big, globally recognised city which we need to now exploit.

“We have put together a forward thinking board of directors with vision and ambition and have a loyal hardcore fan base to build on. Lots to be positive about – we don’t fear the future, we will look to embrace the opportunities that come from it and endeavour to make them work in our favour.

“We welcome anyone into the sport who ticks all of the fit and proper criteria and can bring much needed publicity and profile, whilst willing to self fund the millions of pounds required to make these bids a success. The key to Toronto and indeed these two latest bids is they are absolutely no risk or cost to us as member clubs. We therefore have to back them and try to exploit the opportunities they will bring.”

The Lions return to action this Friday in the local derby against Rochdale Hornets at Heywood Road. 



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