The Kingstone Press Championships season is set to be the most exciting and captivating since its launch after details of promotion and relegation were confirmed by the league organisers.
Both competitions, Championship and Championship One - where Hemel Stags ply their trade – are to undergo major change at the end of 2014 as the sport prepares to embrace new league structures from 2015, when the top two divisions will each comprise 12 clubs.
Before then the new season – which kicks off with a full round of Championship fixtures this weekend – will feature some of the most dramatic action in the competition’s history.
From Sunday, February 16, the 14 Kingstone Press Championship clubs will battle it out over 26 rounds to secure the top-nine finish they need to retain their place in the Championship.
Eight of the top-nine clubs will then go in to a play-off series culminating in a title-deciding Grand Final. The five clubs finishing the season in 10th to 14th positions will be relegated into Championship One
The Championship One season kicks off on Sunday, March 2 and will conclude with a five-team play-off involving the clubs finishing in first to fifth positions at the end of the regular season. The play-offs climax with a Grand Final, the winners of which will be crowned champions and promoted into the Kingstone Press Championship in 2015.
Full details of the promotion and relegation format and other issues were presented to the Kingstone Press Championships clubs at a meeting at Featherstone on Thursday, February 6.
RFL Chief Operating Office Ralph Rimmer said: “It was a momentous meeting and as such it was very pleasing that all the clubs in attendance made a full and candid contribution.
“The return of promotion and relegation across the three top divisions from 2015 has been welcomed by everyone and the Championships clubs remain genuinely enthusiastic about the new structures that will deliver a fully integrated competition.
“The clubs were provided with, and accepted, details of the financial distributions that will be in place from next season, when the sport enters an exciting new era.
“We were also able to confirm that we are exploring alternatives to the broadcasting arrangements for the Kingstone Press Championships for 2014 following the withdrawal of Premier Sport.”
The 2014 Kingstone Press Championship season comprises 26 rounds and concludes with the title-deciding Grand Final over the weekend of October 4 at a venue still to be confirmed.
Each of the nine Kingstone Press Championship One teams will play an extra four games during the 20 rounds, two of which will be at home and two away. These four fixtures have been selected at random based on finishing positions in 2013.