RFU Reveal Radical New Change To English Championship

The Rugby Football Union has approved a three-season plan to remove the end-of-season play-off system in the English Championship.

From next season, the club who finishes top of the table in England’s second tier will be crowned the winner of the Championship and will be promoted into the Aviva Premiership the following season if they satisfy the ‘minimum standards criteria’.

The new format was agreed and supported by the RFU, Premiership Rugby and the Championship clubs. Additional funding from the RFU and Premiership Rugby will be provided to Championship clubs as a result of an agreement between the three parties.

“The first-past-the-post system will allow the promoted club a greater amount of time to recruit ahead of the next season which is important for their preparation in playing in the Premiership,” said RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie.
“In addition, all of the clubs will also benefit from extra funding provided by the RFU and Premiership Rugby. It was also important for this regulation change to be agreed in principle by the RFU Council to allow clubs certainty regarding budget planning for next season.”


Mark McCafferty, chief executive at Premiership Rugby, added the agreement would allow newly-promoted teams to adequately plan for the top flight.

“It’s vital that any club being promoted from the Greene King IPA Championship is as prepared as it can be to compete, given the quality and intensity of Premiership Rugby,” said McCafferty
“The current play-off system does not always help with that whereas a return to first-past-the-post from next season will provide the potential for more advanced planning and recruitment.”

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