Championship clubs welcome approval of promotion to Gallagher Premiership | Rugby Union News

Championship clubs have welcomed the approval of promotion to the Gallagher
Premiership as a “new era” for the professional game in England.

The Rugby Football Union’s council has ratified a two-legged play-off between the bottom-placed Premiership club and the winner of the Championship, starting from the 2025/26 season.

It means there could be movement between the top two divisions for the first time since Saracens returned to the top flight in 2021 after receiving a 105-point deduction for salary cap breaches, resulting in their relegation 12 months earlier.

Bath's Louis Schreuder scores a try during the Gallagher Premiership match against Leicester Tigers (PA Images)

In addition, Friday’s meeting saw the RFU council vote to relax the minimum operating standards for promotion, with the deadline for achieving those standards spread over four seasons.

An independently chaired Tier 2 board is also to be set up, giving the Championship greater control over commercial deals.

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

“There is now a genuine path for ambitious clubs to rise. 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 at our level.

“This is a result that brings common resolve to our sport, guaranteeing that English rugby remains open and fair from the lowest league to the highest.”

England’s summer fixtures (UK and Irish time)

Saturday June 22 – vs Japan (6.50am)
Saturday July 6 – vs New Zealand (8.05am), live on Sky Sports
Saturday July 13 – vs New Zealand (8.05am), live on Sky Sports

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