"End to Ring-Fencing" - Premiership and Championship to Have Play Off Match at end of 2023/24 Season - Ruck

“End to Ring-Fencing” – Premiership and Championship to Have Play Off Match at end of 2023/24 Season

The end of the 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership and RFU Championship rugby season, will see a two-legged promotion-relegation play off match held. This will see the winners of the second division battle it out with the bottom placed Premiership side, for a spot in the top flight of English rugby.

General view of the Gallagher Premiership Trophy ahead of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Harlequins and Exeter Chiefs at The Stoop, Twickenham on 20 Nov. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK/Gallagher.

However, these matches come with the asterisk, that they will only take place if the Championship winning club is eligible for a spot in the top division, by passing the RFU’s minimum standards criteria.

This includes presenting evidence to the RFU, that the club is financial sustainable for a spot in the Premiership. This criteria is now even more crucial, following the financial collapses of Worcester Warriors, Wasps and London Irish during the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season.

The Championship winning side must also have the facilities to accommodate a crowd of 10,001 fans, a rule which has previously stung Championship high-flyers Ealing Trailfinders in the past. The Trailfinders were crowned champions of the 2021/22 RFU Championship, yet failed to meet the minimum standards for a spot in the Premiership.

Try celebrations for Ealing Trailfinders after a penalty during the Greene King IPA Championship rugby match between Saracens and Ealing Trailfinders at The StoneX Stadium, Hendon, London on April 25 2021. – PHOTO: Micah Crook/PPAUK

The Premiership has not witnessed a performance-based relegation since the 2018/19 campaign, when Newcastle Falcons were kicked out of the top flight. Since then the only side to drop down from the Premiership to the Championship were Saracens, who were sent down for breaching the salary cap rules in 2019/20.