League Structure 2015

League Structure 2015 - A New Era

Rugby League - An Extraordinary New Era

We're changing how Rugby League works. From now on every minute matters and every team will have the chance to fulfil its potential.

This page explains everything you need to know about what has changed, why its changed, and how it'll make Rugby League more competitive, more exciting... and more extraordinary.

Why is the competition restructuring taking place?

The fundamental purpose of the new structure is to make Rugby League's professional competitions more exciting, by restoring promotion and relegation in a sustainable manner.

What will the leagues be called in 2015?

In the regular season, the First Utility Super League and Kingstone Press Championship will retain their current names - the only change will be that the third tier competition will become Kingstone Press League 1.

How many clubs will be in each competition?

Super League and the Championship will each feature 12 teams and Kingstone Press League 1 will comprise 14 clubs.

How will the identity of the clubs in all three competitions be determined?

At the end of the 2014 regular season the bottom two clubs in Super League will be relegated to create a 12-team competition. At the same time, the bottom five clubs in the Championship will be relegated, and the Championship One winners will be promoted to create a 12-team Championship.

The five relegated Championship clubs and the eight remaining Championship Once clubs will be joined by new entrants Coventry Bears to create a 14-team League 1.

How will the new competitions work for Super League and the Championship?

The 12 Super League clubs play each other twice, home and away, during the regular season (22 fixtures) plus one fixture at Magic Weekend. The 12 Championship clubs will also play 23 matches, home and away plus one fixture at the Summer Bash.

After playing 23 fixtures, the 24 Super League and Championship clubs will split into three groups - the Super 8s - based on league positions. The top eight will continue as Super League, the middle eight will be the Qualifiers and the third eight will be the Championship Shield.

How will the Super 8s work?

Clubs will each play seven fixtures on a league basis.

Clubs which have performed strongest in their respective competitions in the regular season will be rewarded with four fixtures as follows: the top four Super League clubs will play four home matches; in the Qualifiers, the team finishing ninth and 10th in Super League and the top two teams from the Championship will have four home matches; and in the Championship Shield, clubs finishing the regular Championship season in 5th to 8th place will have four home fixtures.

In Super League and Championship Shield, the competing clubs will carry over the points and scoring records from the regular season into the Super 8s. The Qualifiers will start with zero points because the eight clubs are drawn from two different competitions.

How is the fixture schedule for the Super 8s determined?

The Super 8s fixtures are produced using a merit formula which rewards teams for the consistency and excellence of their results in the regular season. The higher a team finishes after 23 rounds, the more favourable their fixtures in the Super 8s are. For example, the team that finishes 1st will have home games against the teams finishing second and third, and be away to the teams that finished in 7th and 8th.

As with the regular season, the scheduling of fixtures will be determined by a range of factors, including the fairest balance of alternate home and away games for all clubs, stadium availability and broadcast preferences.

What happens after clubs have played seven matches in the Super 8s?

The top four clubs in Super League will go into the play-offs: 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd. The winners of those two matches will contest the Super League Grand Final. All eight Super League clubs are guaranteed top flight status for the following season.

In the Qualifiers, the top three clubs at the conclusion of the Super 8s are also guaranteed Super League status the following season. The 12th place in Super League for the following season will be determined by the Million Pound Game, a play-off between the 4th and 5th placed clubs played at the home of the 4th placed club.

In the Championship Shield, the top four clubs enter a play-off, 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd, with the winners contesting the Championship Shield final.

The bottom two teams (7th and 8th) in the Championship Shield will be relegated to League 1.

How will the new structure work for League 1?

The 14 League 1 clubs will each play 22 games - 11 home and 11 away, playing each other once and nine teams twice with fixtures scheduled on a geographical basis. At the end of the regular season 1st will play 2nd with the winner promoted to the Championship as champions. The loser of that match will join the teams which finished 3rd, 4th and 5th in a play-offs series as follows: loser of the promotion decider v 5th, and 3rd v 4th. The winners of those semi-finals will contest a play-off final to determine the second promotion place.

In addition, a League 1 Cup competition will be reintroduced in 2015 consisting of 16 teams - the 14 League 1 clubs plus the 2014 National Conference League Grand Final winners and the 2014 RFL Conference Challenge Cup winners. The competition will be a straight knockout with the early rounds played at the start of the season. The first round will be an open draw grouped by geography with a straight open draw thereafter. It is proposed that the final will be played at the ‘home team' venue rather than a neutral venue but this is still to be confirmed.

When will details of the 2015 season fixtures be published?

With so much excitement and anticipation about the new structure, there is a desire to publish the 2015 fixtures as early as is practicably possible. The intention is that, should the consultation and redrafting process go as planned, the fixtures will be ready for publication in late October or early November, which is around a month earlier than in previous years.

As clubs will not know how many home games they have in a given season at the start of the year, how will this impact on season ticket sales?

Castleford Tigers will offer a season ticket/membership scheme that secures admission to 14 home matches: 11 games from the regular season plus three Super 8s fixtures. Castleford Tigers will offer a ‘free' community game for the 15th home game on the season ticket should they have four home Super 8s fixtures. With it being a community game we'll be asking fans to make a donation to the Tigers Trust to help fund our community activities.

 

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