RUGBY UNION - Coventry Rugby can dream of promotion next season under new and approved RFU plans - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Coventry Rugby can dream of promotion next season under new and approved RFU plans

Coventry Editorial 18th Jun, 2024   0

CHAMPIONSHIP clubs, including Coventry Rugby, will have the chance to earn promotion next season under new plans approved by the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

The RFU council has approved plans for a two-legged play-off to decide promotion and relegation to/from the Premiership.

Under the plans, the Championship would also become a 14-team league from the 2025/26 season.

Championship chairman, Simon Halliday, said: “We have got what we came for. Now our clubs – and every club – can realistically dream of promotion to the Premiership.

“There is now a genuine path for ambitious clubs to rise, the top tier is reconnected to the rest of the English rugby and we can use our commercial potential to fund the growth that rugby sorely needs at our level.

“This is a result that brings common resolve to our sport, guaranteeing that English rugby remains open and fair from the lowest league to the highest.”




Minimum operating standards required for promoted clubs have been relaxed to make them more achievable. The deadline to achieve those standards is spread over four seasons.

Previously, the amount of investment required and short timescale afforded to clubs made promotion impracticable to promotion candidates.


The RFU council also approved the formation of an independently-chaired Tier 2 board of governance. The body will have an equal representation of Championship and RFU members, chaired by an independent person.

The board will take decisions affecting the commercial exploitation of the second tier league, allowing clubs to make the most of their marketing, media and broadcasting rights.

A joint statement from Championship clubs reads: “The Championship has won the right to a realistic chance of promotion to the top-tier of the game and taken control of its destiny with the creation of a new, independently-chaired Tier 2 Board of governance.

“The RFU Council approved a promotion and relegation deal that the Championship clubs have been fighting for since the beginning of 2023.

“The deal means that in order to be eligible for promotion, the minimum operating standards have been relaxed to make them more achievable and the deadline for achieving those standards will be spread over four seasons. Full details will be announced in due course.

“Previously, the terms and conditions of entry had been unacceptable to Championship clubs, because the amount of investment needed and the shorter timetable made them impracticable to a potential promotion candidate.

“In its meeting, the RFU Council also approved the new Tier 2 Board, a body with an equal representation of Championship and RFU members, chaired by an independent person. That Board will take decisions affecting the commercial exploitation of the second-tier league, hence allowing our clubs to make the most of their marketing, media and broadcasting rights.

“The clubs believe these changes herald a new era for the professional game in England. They set the current 12 clubs – and all those who wish one day to join them – onto a brighter footing.

“With an agreed pathway to promotion, many of the current league’s clubs will now start the planning and investment that will give them a fighting chance to be the first non-P shareholder to reach the Premiership since London Welsh in 2014.”

An RFU statement reads: “This continues to allow for promotion and relegation, better provides a mechanism to determine on-field competitiveness and takes into consideration the financial challenges of clubs in both leagues.

“Council also approved the delegation of specified regulatory decisions to a new Men’s Professional Rugby Board, following RFU Board approval of the same, as well as the financial commitments under the agreement.

“The RFU, Premiership Rugby and RPA will formally announce the signature of and detail of the full Men’s Professional Game Partnership together after the summer tour.”

Click HERE to read the RFU’s statement in full

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