WIDNES Vikings will remain a full-time team next year despite suffering relegation from the Super League.

Vikings' seven-year stay in top flight was ended today when a 20-12 defeat by Toronto was compounded by wins for London and Toulouse.

These are uncertain times, but the club will get a parachute payment for leaving the Super League which will help them rebuild and attack in the Championship after a woeful 2018, following on from a wooden spoon position in 2017.

Widnes escaped relegation in 2017 through the Qualifiers, but they have struggled and even the sacking of coach Denis Betts in May failed to arrest their slump.

They ended the regular campaign anchored to the bottom, eight points adrift of second bottom, with just three wins from their 23 matches.

So far they have won only one game in the Qualifiers - with defeats against Championship sides Toulouse, London and Toronto finishing off their hopes.

CEO James Rule described relegation "as a devastating moment" and apologised for "the experiences of the past two years" in a statement issued within minutes of the club's third defeat by Championship opponents.

Rule said: "Further statements will be issued soon, however at this stage we simply wish to apologise for the experiences of the past two seasons, where results have fallen far below our expectations and provide assurances on the future ambitions for Widnes Vikings.

"The Vikings intend to remain a professional, full-time organisation. We are determined to make every effort to retain the best of our talent and to also effectively rebuild this squad, with the intention of making an immediate return to the Super League.

"This is a great club that has made real progress since its return to the top flight and we must ensure that we rebound from this moment to get our club back on track.

"Above all, we would like to thank the members, supporters and partners who have resolutely backed the club throughout this difficult period - your dedication is genuinely appreciated by us all.

"Your ongoing commitment, and the support of our wider local community, will be vital to this club making a return to Super League, and has never been more needed."

Widnes will need to win the Championship Grand Final in 2019 to reclaim their place in Super League following a decision at last week's Rugby Football League EGM to scrap the Super 8s in favour of a one-up, one-down system of promotion and relegation.

They will be in a division with the non promoted two from an ambitious trio of London, Toronto and Toulouse.

As Leigh have found this year, it won't be an easy ride.