SUPER League's 12th club for the 2021 season will be Leigh Centurions.

An independent panel had been assessing the applications of six Championship clubs to replace Toronto Wolfpack in next year's competition, with panel chair Lord Jonathan Caine announcing their decision live on Sky Sports News.

The Centurions, who were last in Super League in 2017, have beaten off competition from Toulouse Olympique, London Broncos, Bradford Bulls, York City Knights and Featherstone Rovers to take the final place in the top flight.

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.   

“I would like to thank Lord Caine for leading the process.  

"It has been robust and well-managed from the outset. The panel was unanimous in what it was looking for from the new club and unanimous in awarding the 12th place to the Centurions. 

“The final decision points to both the strength of Leigh Centurions’ bid and the alignment throughout the process between Super League and The RFL. 

“The late and unexpected withdrawal of Toronto Wolfpack presented Super League with many challenges, in a uniquely difficult season.  

“We have dealt with them expediently, comprehensively and objectively and I am pleased we can now look forward to another exciting Super League in 2021.” 

Ralph Rimmer, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “Congratulations to Leigh Centurions, who will take the best wishes of all clubs in the Betfred Championship and League 1, as well as the Rugby Football League, as they prepare to return to the Super League in 2021. 

“This process has been a credit to all involved and has underlined the quality of the clubs in the Betfred Championship - which has been such a compelling competition in recent years. 

“I know the five clubs whose Super League applications have been unsuccessful will be disappointed, but I also know they will be excited by the prospect of the Betfred Championship in 2021, especially following last week’s decision to elevate Newcastle Thunder from Betfred League 1. 

“The players and supporters of all clubs at this level have endured such a long and frustrating period without any action since the initial lockdown in March, but there is light at the end of the tunnel - and with a meeting of Championship and League 1 clubs later this week, we hope to be able to provide further details of the plans for 2021 very soon.”