Sonny Bill Williams allowed to cover up Super League sponsor logo


London (AFP)

New Zealand cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams will be allowed to cover up the Super League sponsors' logo due to his opposition to betting.

The 34-year-old former All Black, who converted to Islam in 2009, is preparing for the new rugby league season after signing a two-year deal with Toronto Wolfpack.

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone said a compromise had been agreed with Betfred, who have sponsored the competition since 2017.

Speaking at the season launch in Leeds, Elstone said: "I think the matter has been resolved in satisfactory fashion. I have say a big thank you to Betfred for the way they've managed this.

"We suspected it might be an issue but it only really surfaced five or six days ago and Betfred have taken it on, considered it and come up with the right answer and one that works for all parties.

"I'm really pleased, they showed a progressive, pragmatic approach to this."

The arrival back in rugby league of the dual-code international has created a stir in the sport.

"He is an amazing individual who has seen the eyes of the world turn onto Super League," said Elstone.

"I have a South African friend, a Muslim, who sent me a text about Sonny and said he's got 100 of his friends talking about Super League that have never heard of it before.

"It's a good example of what his signing can do. The first time I met him today, I said to him 'I want you to do your talking on the pitch' -- and I hope he will. I'm sure he will."

Toronto kick off their Super League campaign on February 2 against Castleford Tigers.

They will play a number of their early "home" matches in Britain due to the harsh Canadian winter. Their first game in Toronto will be in April.