RFL to scrap promotion and relegation

Promotion and relegation is set to be scrapped on Monday after it emerged the RFL and Super League have held talks to provide a parachute payment to fund a potential autumn competition for Championship and League 1 clubs.

RFL chairman Simon Johnson emailed clubs on Sunday evening to inform them that decisions made at the board meeting will be outlined on a call at 4:30 PM on Monday.

And clubs expect for the board to officially rule promotion and relegation because of the disruption to the season caused by the coronavirus, with many clubs not in a position to play games at home for the foreseeable future and Toronto unable to host games whatsoever because of travel restrictions.

Such a decision would put another nail in the coffin of the Championship and League 1 seasons and a decision on the futures of the competition could also be revealed tomorrow, though it’s thought that decision could be delayed.

Even if the leagues are officially binned, there is the potential for a competition in another guise still to take place.

The RFL and Super League have held discussions with a view to Super League providing funds equivalent to a parachute payment to lower league clubs as a sweetener for no promotion and relegation being in place. It will, in effect, be a consolation prize to clubs below the top tier who can no longer aspire towards a place in Super League next season, while clubs in the top tier can be assured that their place in the top flight is secure.

It could also prove to be financially savvy from a Super League perspective. Had relegation remained they would have been giving a parachute payment to the relegated club, meaning they are no worse off.

Additionally, Toronto are currently bottom of the competition but they do not take a slice of the money received from Sky. Had they been relegated and replaced by an RFL member club, the Sky money would have had to be split another way, which would come as another significant hit to clubs next year.

Although they may still have to part with the parachute payment, it safeguards the amount of Sky money the other eleven clubs will receive.

Super League currently give £500,000 to any club that is relegated.

Should the RFL receive that money, it remains to be seen how the governing body will spend it.

Discussions with clubs have been minimal so far, but it could be used as a prize pot for a potential autumn competition, to help clubs cover the costs of playing behind closed doors or even to help cover the losses clubs face from Sky money being reduced next season.