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MLR Update: CEO Speaks, Player Options Explored

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MLR Update: CEO Speaks, Player Options Explored

MLR looks to be down to more more than 11 teams this coming season.

Following on the news that the Rugby New York Ironworkers will not play in the MLR anymore, Major League Rugby has issued a statement.

The statement, officially from MLR CEO Nic Benson, reads as follows:

We’re disappointed and saddened to announce the withdrawal of the New York Ironworkers from Major League Rugby, particularly knowing the commitment and pride of its players and staff, as well as the fervent passion of its fan base.

We’re deeply grateful to the team’s leadership who have worked to grow the game of rugby in the U.S. and New York, striving to do so in one of the most competitive markets in the world. As always, our focus is on doing right by the Club and its players as operations wind down with an announcement about the player disbursal process to come later.

While this is unfortunate news, Major League Rugby remains strong, and the owners across the league are committed to success heading into 2024 and beyond. In the past six months, we’ve welcomed an expansion team in Miami, relocated a team to Los Angeles, and signed new deals with rugby organizations around the globe to expand coverage on our OTT platform, The Rugby Network. We have brought several new partners to the table in our bid to grow the game of rugby in North America.

Major League Rugby is embarking on its own positive evolution as a professional sports league. We feel for those impacted by New York’s decision to withdraw, knowing it was a painful and difficult one to make. But we also remain confident in the course the league and its owners have charted, leading the way for the success of the sport in advance of North America hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2031. We remain committed to growth and look forward to a thrilling 2024 season.

MLR Loses Another Team, Maybe Another on Thin Ice

Also we are given to understand that there will be a dispersal draft next week.

That dispersal draft will, reportedly, make it slightly easier for players to set up a deal with teams before they are drafted. (Basically this should mean that players will be able to talk to teams beforehand as opposed to the college rule where teams can't talk with players until the draft.) 

In addition, according to reports, the contract for one of these dispersal draft players will not count against a team's salary cap. These two things would make it much easier for teams to find a team they can play for. Of course they'd still have to move and pay for the move ... and there is no league rule that teams have to pay for moving costs.