Major League Rugby Confirms Kanola Rugby Hawaii Bid to Join Must Wait Until at Least 2022

Major league Rugby tweeted on 4 September, “Major league Rugby announced that the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement it executed with Kanoloa Hawaii Rugby Ltd. has expired. MLR and Kanaoloa Hawai’i have not reached any agreement by which this tam may join MLR for the 2021 season.”

“MLR Commissioner George Killebrew has encouraged this potential ownership group to continue with its development plans so that it may be in a position to join MLR for a future MLR season.”

Kanaloa Hawaii Rugby

Kanaloa Hawaii Rugby posted on their Facebook page in a Kanaloa Hawaii CEO email extract to the members of MLR dated 3 September 2020:

“Aloha MLR Associates,
“Given the uncertainty and continued complexities of COVID both here in NZ, in Hawaii, and across the US, we undertook a due diligence review and moreover a thorough investigation into the financial stability and long term viability and sustainability of the MLR competition. The result of which presented a range of high-level concerns for our organisation.
The MLR has not been able to provide the type of assurances (COVID Plan, proposed match schedule, other) that would enable the trust and confidence required to continue with our membership goals.
Initially, the lack of insight and planning around a COVID Strategy and the postponement of training to 4 January was the focus of our concerns. However, the situation was compounded by a list of other more sensitive issues around Governance, policy, and the financial performance of the organisation as a whole.
We believe that once the MLR is in a position where they can provide greater clarity and assurances for the health, safety, and well being of our staff, players, and of course a more feasible solution for our investors, partners, and sponsors; we will reconsider our options then.
As an aside, we formally actioned a request to dispute as part of our ENA process to undergo a full investigation into the financial viability of the MLR and also to review what was offered to Kanaloa Hawaii during our ENA negotiations.
The result of this is that the MLR has offered Kanaloa Hawaii an opportunity to terminate our ENA with provisions to reinstigate a membership opportunity from 2022. We are considering our options in this regard also.”
We now look forward to providing an alternative option for our players, staff, and volunteers for 2021.”


There has been so much promise of an MLR team coming to Hawaii. It is hoped that greater clarification will be made in the coming days. Both Kanaloa Hawaii Rugby and Major League Rugby should continue along the path to that it has started and bridge any concerns from the league teams and the proposed team for Hawaii.

When more information becomes available the article will be updated.

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant