BETFRED CHAMPIONSHIP AND LEAGUE ONE RESTRUCTURE 2024-26


Ahead of the start of the Betfred Championship season in Sheffield and Wakefield this Friday night, the Championship and League One clubs have had confirmation of a managed transition of the competition structure below Super League over the next two seasons, to produce two divisions of 12 clubs from 2026.

Following a detailed six-month review involving all Tier Two and Three clubs alongside the RFL executive, the Betfred Championship will become a 13-team division for one season only in 2025, with League One expanding to become at least 10 teams – and applications to be invited for an 11th (for full details, see the summary below).

From 2025, a Super Eights style system will be introduced to determine promotion and relegation between the Championship and League One.

At the other end of the Championship table, increased prize money will be made available for the Grand Final winners, following a Play-Off series.

Tony Sutton, the RFL Chief Executive, said:

“With so much to anticipate in the 2024 Betfred Championship and League One seasons, it was important to provide clarity to all competing clubs about the structure of their competitions going forward.

“The RFL began this process last September, and following significant feedback and consultation with clubs, a final proposal has been presented.

“A reorganisation to produce two divisions of 12 clubs beneath the Betfred Super League will provide greater consistency and clarity across all three competitions, and also increase the intensity and quality of the Betfred Championship.

“However there was a recognition that it would be unfair to reduce the Championship from 14 clubs to 12 clubs in a single season – so we have allowed a more gradual transition over two seasons, meaning a 13-team Championship in 2025.

“We also recognised the need to preserve promotion and relegation between Championship and League One, and the clubs have been enthused by a Super Eights type system which will provide more attractive and meaningful fixtures for successful League One clubs by providing a significant number of fixtures between Championship and the top League One clubs.

“There will be a significant increase in prize money for the Betfred Championship Grand Final winners from 2024, recognising that the winners of this match will no longer secure automatic promotion to the Super League – the Championship should be seen as a significant competition to win in its own right.”

Betfred Championship and League One, 2024-26 – summary

2024

The top six in the Betfred Championship will compete in a Play-Off series as in previous seasons, with additional prize money on offer for the winners of the Grand Final – which will be played on the weekend of October 19-20.

The team finishing top of Betfred League One will secure automatic promotion to the Championship, with the bottom two teams in the Championship relegated to League One.

Teams finishing second to sixth in League One will then compete in a Play-Off series, with the winners then facing the 12th-placed team in the final Championship table to determine the 13th position in the 2025 Championship.

An application process will be launched for a new club to join League One in 2025 – with the RFL Board to make a decision in September.

2025

Play-Offs in the Betfred Championship will determine the champions – the number of teams qualifying for the Play-Offs from 2025 is still to be finalised.

Promotion and relegation between the Championship and League One will be determined by a Super Eights style competition involving the top teams in League One, and the lowest-ranked teams in the Championship.

Full details are still being worked through, but the impact will be to reduce the number of teams in the Championship in 2026 to 12.

2026

Betfred Championship and League One will each have 12 clubs.

Play-Offs in the Betfred Championship will determine the champions – the number of teams qualifying for the Play-Offs is still to be finalised.

Promotion and relegation between the Championship and League One will be determined by a Super Eights style competition involving the top teams in League One, and the lowest-ranked teams in the Championship.

#BWO

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