Rugby: Championship play-offs axed

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Bristol, pictured playing against Jersey at St Peter, won the 2016 play-off final. Picture: ROB CURRIE

AS the rumours have suggested for a number of months, the current end-of-season Championship play-off system will be scrapped, the RFU has confirmed.

The RFU Council has approved a three-season plan to remove play-offs between the top four teams to decide the winner of the second division.

From next season, the club who finishes top of the table will be crowned the winner of Championship and will be promoted into the Premiership the following season if they satisfy the 'minimum standards criteria'.

The new format was agreed and supported by the RFU, Premiership Rugby and the Championship clubs.

Additional funding from the RFU and Premiership Rugby (PRL) will be provided to Championship clubs as a result of an agreement between the three parties.

'The first-past-the-post system will allow the promoted club a greater amount of time to recruit ahead of the next season which is important for their preparation in playing in the Premiership,' said RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie.

'In addition, all of the clubs will also benefit from extra funding provided by the RFU and Premiership Rugby. It was also important for this regulation change to be agreed in principle by the RFU Council to allow clubs certainty regarding budget planning for next season.'

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