Leigh Centurions have been promoted to the Super League for the 2021 season.
It will be the Centurions’ third spell in the Super League, having previously been up in 2005 and 2017. Both times, they were relegated after one season.
They beat applications from Toulouse, Featherstone Rovers, London Broncos, Bradford Bulls and York City Knights to replace Toronto Wolfpack in the premier competition.
The Wolfpack were voted out of the Super League in November after dropping out of the 2020 season due to financial difficulties and the effect of the global pandemic.
Reacting to the news, panel chairman Lord Caine said: “I was determined from the outset that this process should be robust and conducted to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and on the basis of ‘rigorous impartiality’ between each of the applicants.
“Each application was judged strictly but fairly against the agreed criteria that were circulated to clubs and published in November.
“All of the applications were of high quality and I would like to pay tribute to the clubs for the energy and effort they have put into this exercise in what was of necessity a very short time period.”
Super League Executive Chairman Robert Elstone added: “Six weeks after Super League clubs chose to return to a 12-team format, we are delighted to welcome Leigh Centurions to our 2021 competition.
“The independent panel was impressed by Centurions’ application which scored highly on all published criteria, and it is a credit to everyone at the club that they were able to produce such a comprehensive submission in such a demanding timeframe.
“The club has a number of top-class players with Super League experience, a great stadium and a passionate and committed fan base, all of which will add to the 2021 competition.”