Rugby New York joins Toronto Arrows in Major League Rugby exit

Major League Rugby now have 11 teams ahead of the 2024 season
Major League Rugby now have 11 teams ahead of the 2024 season

Rugby New York becomes the latest team to withdraw themselves from the upcoming 2024 season of Major League Rugby.

They now follow Toronto Arrows in becoming the second team to be pulled out of the competition in recent times.

The team based on New York joined the league in 2018 and went on to clinch the title in the 2022 edition. The withdrawal has been linked with ownership and financial troubles leaving the 2024 season of the MLR with just 11 teams.

They also become the second MLR champion to exit the league after the LA Giltinis - the winners of the 2021 season were removed along with Austin Gilgronis in 2022.

“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,” MLR CEO Nic Benson said Wednesday in a statement.

“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.”

Having started the competition with nine teams, MLR expanded to 12 teams in 2020 and becoming 13 side competition in 2022.

Despite the slide, Benson expressed confidence that they will have a successful growth as they look to redeem themselves ahead of the 2024 season.

“We feel for those impacted by New York’s decision to withdraw, knowing it was a painful and difficult one to make,” Benson is quoted as saying in the league’s release. “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.”