Championship & League 1 play-off structure, 1895 Cup final before Challenge Cup final

The RFL have changed the play-off structure ahead of the 2020 Championship & League 1 campaigns.

Clubs will no longer hold home advantage throughout the play-off system based on their final league position, instead, the winners of the Round 2 semi-final will earn home advantage in the Grand Final two weeks later, meaning should the lower-ranked side win that game, and then face the higher-placed side in the Grand Final, they will have earned home advantage.

The structure was criticised last year, with Toronto guaranteed home advantage throughout the play-offs, even if they had lost their first match.

But that has now changed, effectively meaning teams can move up the pecking order by defeating higher-ranked teams.

Meanwhile, the RFL have also answered calls to move the 1895 Cup Final forward, with the final set to take place at midday, before the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

The news will be well received after strong criticism to the later kick-off time last year.

The traditional Wembley curtain-raiser, the Year 7 Boys Final in the Warners Champion Schools competition, will now have a morning kick-off, before the 1895 Cup Final, which will act as the new curtain raiser for the main event.

In further positive news, Sky Sports have confirmed they will broadcast the entirety of the 2020 Championship play-offs after impressive viewing figures last year.

Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We’re delighted to be able to confirm that Sky Sports will again be showing the Betfred Championship Play-Offs this autumn, allowing them to capture the twists and turns in the battle for promotion to the Betfred Super League.

“It’s great exposure for our leading Championship clubs, adding to the exciting expanded programme of coverage on the RFL’s Our League platform this season with a new focus on live Sunday night matches.

“Our League will also be providing extensive coverage of Betfred League 1 including the Play-Offs, and we have listened to the views of the clubs in both competitions in making changes to the structure of the Play-Offs in both which will provide a greater reward for results during the Play-Offs themselves.

“We’ve also listened to the views of clubs and supporters in working to change the kick-off time of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup. We’re grateful for the co-operation of Wembley Stadium in allowing us to bring the kick-off forward, and we hope that change will be welcomed – and ensure a suitable atmosphere in the stadium when the winners receive their trophy.”