Doncaster Knights and Championship claim landmark promotion win in battle with RFU

Championship clubs have claimed a significant victory in their bid to keep promotion to the Premiership a viable option.

After reacting angrily to the Rugby Football Union proposals before Christmas of a new ‘Premiership 2’ that clubs must apply to be a part of, the Championship teams – including Doncaster Knights – are now rejoicing after the RFU Council approved a promotion and relegation deal between the two divisions.

The minimum standards criteria that for many years has meant promotion was unrealistic for clubs that won the second tier have been relaxed and the deadline for achieving those standards will be spread over four seasons.

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According to a statement released by the Championship clubs, full details will be announced in due course.

Doncaster Knights and their Championship rivals have seen the door back to the Premiership opened up a little (Picture: George Wood/Getty Images)Doncaster Knights and their Championship rivals have seen the door back to the Premiership opened up a little (Picture: George Wood/Getty Images)
Doncaster Knights and their Championship rivals have seen the door back to the Premiership opened up a little (Picture: George Wood/Getty Images)

The RFU Council also approved a new Tier 2 Board, comprising an equal representation of Championship and RFU members which is responsible for the commercial, marketing, media and broadcasting rights decisions.

Simon Halliday, chairman of the championship, said: “We have got what we came for. Now our clubs – and every club – can realistically dream of promotion to the Premiership.

“There is now a genuine path for ambitious clubs, the top tier is reconnected to the rest of English rugby and we can use our commercial potential to fund the growth that rugby sorely needs. This brings common resolve to our sport, guaranteeing that rugby remains open and fair.”

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The statement from the Championship clubs added: “The clubs believe these changes herald a new era for the professional game in England. They set the current 12 clubs – and all those who wish one day to join them – onto a brighter footing.

“With an agreed pathway to promotion, many of the current league’s clubs will now start the planning and investment that will give them a fighting chance to be the first non-P shareholder to reach the Premiership since London Welsh in 2014.”