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SBD Global/July 25, 2014/Events and Attractions

Rugby Football League Outlines Restructured Super League, Championship Format For '15

The Rugby Football League has revealed "full details of the new structure for the 2015 Super League and Championship," according to the BBC. Clubs will play 23 games in "two divisions of 12 and then be split into three pools of eight." The top Super Eights group will then play "seven further games, with the top four at that stage progressing to contest places in the Grand Final." Four further top-flight clubs for the following season will "come from the middle qualifiers pool." Changes for the '15 season include:
  • Super League's top eight will split after 23 games (including Magic Weekend) into a seven-game group and the top four will contest the playoffs in a semifinal format.
  • The middle tier of eight qualifiers -- comprising the "bottom four from Super League and top four from the Championship" -- will play seven games -- the top three and 4th vs. 5th playoff winners go up.
  • League One -- formerly Championship One -- will grow to 14 teams, with Coventry Bears entering the competition from '15 and the end of the '14 season's bottom five in the Championship dropping down.
  • Bonus points, currently used in the bottom two divisions, will be "considered for use in Super League between now and the start of the season."
  • Top eight SL clubs go into the Challenge Cup sixth round, bottom four SL clubs into the fifth, Championship clubs in round four, League One clubs in round three (BBC, 7/24).
'FINANCIALLY STABLE' FORMAT: RFL CEO Nigel Wood said, "The changes will ensure that every minute of every match in every competition matters and are being implemented following the most comprehensive consultation process in the sport's history. The return of promotion and relegation in a format that is financially sustainable for all clubs should ensure fans are entertained from February to October" (SKY SPORTS, 7/24). In London, Christopher Irvine wrote that RFL leadership "pointedly stakes its reputation on a radical overhaul of the league's structure" in an effort to increase crowds and boost commercial revenue. RFL COO Ralph Rimmer described the overhaul at a "step change" for the sport. Rimmer said the new system would provide "energy and vibrancy" to the league (LONDON TIMES, 7/25).
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