Toronto Wolfpack's bid to rejoin the Super League rugby league competition for 2021 has been rejected by a majority of clubs in the competition, it was announced Monday.
Super League, the northern hemisphere's elite club competition in the 13-a-side code, now comprises 10 English teams and France's Catalans Dragons.
Toronto were involved in their maiden Super League season until July, when owner David Argyle withdrew the Canadian club citing financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Argyle, however, had expressed hope that the club would return next year under new ownership.
But a meeting of the Super League board rejected their submission by a vote of 8-4, with one abstention.
"The club shares the obvious disappointment of our players, staff, sponsor and partners, as well as incredible fans, at today's decision," said a Toronto statement issued to the BBC.
"The Wolfpack will now take some time to consider our position and consult further with the current ownership group, led by David Argyle."
The Wolfpack signed cross-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams but an inability to play matches in Toronto meant they coud not capitalise on his arrival, with the New Zealander subsequently heading off for a third stint in Australian rugby league.
Toronto were formed in 2016 and, having been in League One, won promotion twice in three years to secure a place in the Super League.
But Monday's vote leaves the Wolfpack facing an uncertain future, with Super League also having to decide whether to remain as an 11-team competition in 2021 or find another side should it wish to have 12 clubs once again.
The vote will also raise questions about Super League's commitment to expanding its frontiers beyond England's northwest heartland, the home to the bulk of the country's rugby league clubs.