Phil Egan
Phil Egan

11:50 29 Jun 2021

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The Gallagher Premiership will expand to 14 clubs from the 2022-23 season and there will be no relegation for the next two years.

The English Rugby Football Union has announced a host of structural changes as part of its COVID Recovery Plan, which is aimed at improving the financial stability and sustainability of professional rugby in England during the next three seasons.

A play-off between the Premiership’s bottom side and the winners of the Championship will decide relegation at the end of the 2023-24 campaign.

RFU President Jeff Blackett said: "I would like to thank my Council colleagues for their extensive debate and consultation around these structural changes for the next three seasons.

"Council has carefully considered how to ensure a healthy professional game to support successful winning England teams that generate income to support the game at all levels, while maintaining the integrity of future league structures.

"The changes will undoubtedly benefit the game of rugby in England as we recover from the effects of the pandemic.

"This is not ring-fencing the Premiership as some have suggested. In three of the four seasons covered by this, and our previous decision, a Championship club will have the opportunity to be promoted.

"Council has control of what happens thereafter and is committed to maintaining the integrity of the league structure by ensuring that access to the Premiership will be retained in the future.

"I would also like to thank Government for their enormous support for the community game with rugby clubs in England having a significant boost through an allocation of £30 million of government funding, the biggest single investment in the community game, following collaboration between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Sport England, the RFU and the grassroots game.

"We are all looking forward to the start of next season and the welcome return of volunteers, players and fans."

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