Clubs consider combining Championship and League 1 for 24-team competition

A radical proposal to change the landscape of the league structure outside of Super League was discussed in a meeting of Championship and League 1 clubs last week.

League Express can reveal a plan has been outlined that would see an amalgamation of the two divisions to be replaced by two regionalised conferences.

24 clubs are set to occupy tiers two and three next season, with one club set to replace Toronto Wolfpack in Super League while Ottawa Aces have deferred their entry until 2022.

The structure would culminate with the top four of each conference entering an eight-team, NRL style Finals series, with promotion up for grabs at the end of the year.

The proposal was drawn up among League 1 clubs and there is understood to be strong support through the third-tier.

There is, however, more opposition from Championship clubs, particularly those in the upper sanctums of the competition.

League 1 clubs aren’t thought to be asking for an additional split of central distribution and one benefit would be the ability to draw bigger followings from clubs in the Championship.

However, one of the arguments made against the proposal is that there would be a number of blowout scorelines and Championship attendances would take a hit.

The proposal has not been thrown out by the RFL and further talks are set to continue. Though some clubs in the Championship have completely dismissed the notion, others are willing to discuss the matter at further length in the future.

Some clubs don’t believe they have had enough time to properly digest the proposal at this time.

If pushed through, it would be a huge change to the current structure.

With a Championship club likely to be promoted to Super League, several League 1 clubs would subsequently apply for the vacant place left in the Championship, though there is a feeling of unease among clubs about that process.

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.