League shake up set to be ratified

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The expected shake up at the top of professional rugby league seems certain to come to fruition early next month at a specially-convened meeting of the Rugby Football League’s member clubs.

The gathering, which is scheduled for October 9, is likely to result in the creation of two top divisions of 12 from 2015 onwards, which will then split into three leagues of eight after a full round of 22 fixtures.

Teams would then play a single round of four fixtures - effectively a play off series - with their finishing positions used to determine funding and the make up of the divisions of 12 the following year.

The plans, which were exclusively revealed by Courier Sport earlier this year, signal an end to the discredited concept of three year licences, brought in by former chairman Richard Lewis and former Fax chief executive Nigel Wood in 2008, and a return to promotion and relegation, albeit in a tortuous format.

Super League clubs have already rejected the idea of cutting the top division to 10 teams, which would have paved the way for a 10-team centrally-funded second tier, dubbed ‘Super League Two’.

The major questions surrounding the new plans concern the cash Championship clubs will receive, although early indications are that the top four teams in the Championship next season will all receive significant - but graduated - pay outs to help bankroll them for 2015.