Major League Rugby in crisis as LA and Austin are disqualified from the playoffs | rugby federation
Less than a month after the end of the United States won the 2031 and 2033 Rugby World CupsMajor League Rugby, the American men’s professional competition, entered into crisis with the disqualification of LA and Austin, the two best teams in its Western Conference.
Sources across the American game said the season-ending playoff ejections were for violations of the rules surrounding the salary cap.
The LA and Austin property did not respond to Guardian requests for comment.
MLR said it had no comments to add to a brief statement on social media, who said: “Due to a breach of league rules, the LA Giltinis have been disqualified from the 2022 Major League Rugby competition.”
In a similar statement last week, MLR said“Due to a violation of league rules, the Austin Gilgronis have been disqualified from the 2022 playoffs. Championship Series games will be announced as they are determined.
MLR is in its fifth season, having survived the coronavirus pandemic which cut short the third season. This year, an expansion team in Dallas — which lost all 16 games — took the league to 13 teams. Chicago and St. Louis are widely reported as the next cities for expansion.
The league has already lost one team, the Colorado Raptors withdrawal in 2020. Guardian reports linked the exit of the foundation team to the political changes surrounding the arrival of powerful landlords in Los Angeles, Gilchrist and New England, Erik Andersona biotech investor.
The Raptors have changed direction and now seek to convert athletes in sports such as football, basketball and wrestling. The program is in its second year and has sent players to MLR and the United States men’s sevens team.
Control of MLR will be increasingly attractive as two Rugby World Cups in the United States approach and World Rugby is looking to invest in the American game.
In May, when the 2031 men’s and 2033 women’s events were announced in Dublin, Matt McCarthy, a leading American rugby journalist, told the Guardian a “huge and game-changing investment in high schools, colleges, clubs, for men and women, Sevens and 15s” would also “safeguard the future of Major League Rugby as an all-professional 15-year-old men’s competition”.
McCarthy added: “The creation of the professional league in Japan in the years leading up to the 2019 World Cup shows what World Rugby knows has to happen. Now that the World Cups are coming to America, MLR simply cannot be allowed to fail.
Last weekend, amid political uproar even before the decision to evict LA, the final round of the MLR regular season saw Austin beat the Houston SaberCats and LA fall to the Seattle Seawolves, champ in 2018 and 2019.
The Guardian understands the decision to disqualify LA was made at a board meeting on Monday evening.
On Tuesday, MLR said, “The Houston SaberCats will now host the Western Conference Finals and play the winner of the Western Conference Eliminator between the Seattle Seawolves and the San Diego Legion.”
In the east, Rugby ATL Atlanta and Rugby New York will contest the eliminator, with the winner advancing to the conference final against the New England Free Jacks.
The MLR Championship game is scheduled for the weekend of June 25-26.
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