The South African Rugby Union have confirmed that their Super Rugby contingent have been lined up to join an expanded Guinness PRO14.
It follows Toyota Cheetahs statement which revealed their tenure in the league is drawing to a close.
Based in Bloemfontein, they joined the then PRO12 at the start of the 2017-18 season along with the Southern Kings.
South Africa's Super Rugby quartet - Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions - will take the place of both the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings.
SA Rugby are still speaking in terms of the move being a "potential" one, with no firm time frame in place for the expansion.
In a statement, the Cheetahs say, "The four metro franchises were voted in to participate in the PRO16 competition in Europe."
"The decision was taken by the 13 voting member unions of SARU at a specially convened meeting to determine international participation and competition formats in a COVID-impacted rugby environment," a SA Rugby statement read.
"The Border Rugby Union – which is under administration – currently has its voting powers suspended."
The Southern Kings entered voluntary liquidation earlier this month to secure the long term future of rugby in the Eastern Province region. They will no longer compete in the PRO14.
Due to travel restrictions, the 2020-21 PRO14 season will begin on Friday with just twelve teams.
The Cheetahs and another yet-to-be confirmed South African side are pencilled in to rejoin the competition - restrictions permitting - in the new year.
They say, "Free State Rugby will review all implications and thereafter determine the way forward."
SA Rugby say they will "now accelerate preliminary conversations with PRO Rugby Championship DAC [PRO14's owners] on SA Rugby’s representation in the competition.
The Toyota Cheetahs managed to negotiate its participation as a fifth franchise in a Super 8 competition, with additional income.
The four metro franchises were voted in to participate in the PRO16 competition in Europe.
According to Harold Verster, Managing Director of the Free State Cheetahs, the Cheetahs reserve their rights.
The implications of the business model have to be assessed and the board will decide on the way forward.
The local competitions are exciting and offer a good prospect because of the fact that it is a competition that all fourteen South-African franchises will be taking part in after which a Currie Cup double round, home and away, will take place with all eight teams.
Free State Rugby will review all implications and thereafter determine the way forward.