Structure For 2024 Season Confirmed
November 8, 2023
Following a meeting of Betfred Championship and Betfred League 1 clubs last month, the Rugby Football League (RFL) board has confirmed the structure for the 2024 season.
The Betfred Championship will continue as a 14-team competition, with the top six teams qualifying for a play-off series culminating in a Grand Final to determine the champions. This will be played at the home ground of the team ranked highest during the regular season.
Betfred League 1 will be a nine-club competition providing Newcastle Thunder take part, with each side playing twenty matches – ten at home, and ten away. This will involve four loop fixtures for each team, to be determined by seedings based on 2023 finishing positions.
A contingency model has also been devised for an eight-team competition, if Newcastle Thunder do not take part next year, which would see each team play the other three times in a 21-round programme. The League 1 Grand Final will be played on October 6, at the home ground of the team ranked highest during the regular season.
Importantly, clubs in both leagues have been invited to join a forum to consider the best structure below Super League for 2025 and beyond, the intention being to announce decisions before the start of the 2024 league competitions to provide clarity around promotion and relegation between any divisions.
And, in response to representations from League 1 clubs that they would benefit from being able to offer more fixtures to their supporters, a new structure has been devised for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup – the competition introduced in 2019 to provide a second and more realistic chance for clubs outside the Betfred Super League to reach Challenge Cup finals day at Wembley Stadium.
However, Cornwall RLFC have graciously agreed, after consultation with the RFL, to step away from the AB Sundecks Cup in 2024, for logistical reasons. This will leave the Betfred Championship clubs (excluding Toulouse Olympique) and eight Betfred League 1 clubs to be split into seven groups of three.
Groups will be seeded and regionalised, with League 1 clubs awarded home advantage in any fixtures against Championship opposition. The top team in each group will qualify for quarter-finals, joined by the best-performing second-placed team – the latter to be determined by competition points initially and then, if necessary, by points difference.
Further details will be provided when the full fixtures list for Betfred Championship, League 1 and the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup is published on Sunday, December 3.