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14 September 2018

New structure changes to the Championship and League 1 could benefit the club’s position for the 2019 season.

The changes to the league structure could confirm the Lion’s status in the Championship

Swinton Lions can reveal that the new structure changes to the Championship and League One will give a lifeline for Stuart Littler and his Lions to remain in the second division.

Championship and League 1 clubs have today been working tirelessly to reach the appropriate and rewarding conclusion for the leagues and the sport.

The structure has now been confirmed by the RFL, which will go as follows:

  • 11th-placed Championship side (currently Swinton) will remain in the league,
  • Top-placed League One side (currently York City Knights) will be automatically promoted,
  • The League One play-offs for the second spot in the Championship will go ahead as normal,
  • The winner will be promoted, whilst the loser will play 12th placed in the Championship (currently Rochdale Hornets) for the remaining spot.

This will then give the Championship a 14-team league ahead of the 2019 season.

The Lions recently beat relegation rivals Rochdale Hornets in the Championship Shield as they look to escape the bottom two, under new changes finishing 11th would ensure Championship rugby league in 2019 for the club

On the announcement, Lions Chairman Andy Mazey said exclusively, “Following today’s vote and meetings throughout the day with the RFL and fellow Championship and League One clubs, we know have clarity on the structure for 2019 and beyond.

“We wish the Super League the very best to strengthen the top tier and likewise we look forward to what the future brings with Championship and League One.

On the Lions, Mazey added: “This now puts destiny in our own hands and gives us a fighting chance to retain our Championship status. I now hope that the game as a whole can move forward.

“This news now makes the final three fixtures of the season absolutely important for this club. We have to maximise our opportunities and I’m sure the Lions fanbase will get right behind the lads.

“We continue with our fight this weekend away to Barrow, and I’m sure a confident and proud group of Swinton fans will be making the trip to support Stuart and the boys in what will be a very important fixture for our future.

“As a club, we will be hoping to retain our 11th placed spot and wish the best to the rest of the league.”


The Betfred Championship structure expands to a 14-team competition in 2019 with all teams playing each other once home and away, plus Summer Bash, ending with a play-off series for the top five teams with the winner promoted to Super League, and relegation for the bottom two clubs.

To get to a 14 team Betfred Championship at the end of this current season two teams from Betfred League 1 will be promoted. As has always been planned this season, the team finishing top of League 1 will be automatically promoted. 

Teams 2 to 5 will then play semi-finals with the winners of the Promotional Final being promoted. The final place in the Betfred Championship for 2019 will be decided by a Play-off Final between the team that finishes bottom of the Championship Shield and the loser of the Promotional Final.

Betfred League 1 will consist of x12 teams playing each other home and away with the top team automatically promoted. Teams 2-6 will play-off to decide the second team to be promoted.

The revisions follow substantial discussions within all levels of the professional game, led by the Rugby Football League.


Ralph Rimmer, Chief Executive at The Rugby Football League spoke on the introduction of the changes stating; “As we have seen this season, the Betfred Championship and League 1 are strong, vibrant and highly entertaining competitions.

“We want to see both competitions continue to appeal to Rugby League fans and attract new ones. We have secured guaranteed promotion and relegation to Super League. It is vital that aspiring clubs, players, owners and fans can see their path to the top. 

“We want to ramp up how we build value in Championship and League 1. This means more marketing and promotion including major focus games; streaming more games as part of a wider digital strategy – already underway with the streaming of Betfred League 1 games exclusively to Our League members; and working with broadcasters to bring these competitions to a wider audience. It also means focusing the investment where it delivers the greatest return for the sport.

“We need to now draw a line under the last period and focus on this together as we head to a home World Cup in 2021 and all the opportunity this brings to our clubs and communities.”


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