Widnes Vikings’ seven-year stay in Betfred Super League came to an end as they were beaten 20-12 by promotion-chasing Toronto Wolfpack at the Lamport Stadium.
The Vikings have flirted with relegation all year and ended the regular season eight points adrift at the foot of the table with just three wins from their 23 matches.
They were handed the chance of a reprieve via the Super 8s Qualifiers but their defeat in Toronto sealed their fate.
The Vikings led 6-0 after full-back Joe Mellor crossed over for the game’s opening try after 11 minutes.
Krisnan Inu added the conversion and also kicked a penalty after Toronto second rower Cory Paterson's 18th-minute try - and Gareth O'Brien's conversion - had brought the home side level.
Toronto winger Matty Russell crossed over in the corner on the half-hour mark to give the hosts the edge at half-time.
Chris Dean replied for the Vikings before home half-back Blake Wallace darted over at the other end and O’Brien’s conversion made it 16-12 before the latter added two late penalties.
Widnes Vikings chief executive James 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.”