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Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Monday, 31 January 2011

RFL considering Championship expansion


The Rugby Football League have put forward a proposal to expand the Championship from 11 to 14 clubs.

A shake-up of the divisional structure below Super League for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons has been circulated to Championship clubs.

If the clubs approve the proposals, the RFL hopes to announce the make-up of the league in September.

The new-look Championship would then kick in for 2012, with entry dependent on clubs meeting minimum standards.

The size of the Championship will determine how many clubs participate in Championship One.

But the RFL says it will seek expressions of interest from clubs currently playing outside Championship level to join the third-tier competition.

It is proposed that promotion and relegation between the Championship and Championship One will continue up to 2014.

There are indeed some radical changes in there

RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer

After that, the RFL could then also consider promotion and relegation between Championship One and the Conference Leagues.

Cup competitions, including the Northern Rail Cup which kicks off this week, will remain an integral part of any new structure but are likely to move to a schedule within the Championships season.

The RFL says that central funding will continue but that under the new proposals the size of hand-outs will be more performance-related, based on factors such as a club's contribution to the sport and its business management.

RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer said: "There are indeed some radical changes in there.

"But I have no doubt that these proposals will allow the RFL to maximise the return on its investment and improve the stability of clubs by encouraging stronger business management."

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