Automatic promotion and relegation to and from the Betfred Super League will be axed from next season after clubs rubber-stamped proposals by the game’s long-term strategic partner IMG at a vote in Huddersfield on Wednesday.
Clubs and community bodies voted by a majority of 32 to seven in favour of the proposals, with three clubs abstaining.
The vote means that, from the end of the 2024 season, participation in the game’s top flight will be dependent on a range of factors, including attendance, catchment area and facilities, with on-field performance accounting for just one quarter.
RFL chairman Simon Johnson said: “This has been a highly significant day for the sport and I am proud of the vote of the council today.
“Our clubs were unanimous in supporting the 12-year strategic partnership with IMG when it was proposed in 2022, and have now given strong support for the club grading recommendation which is crucial in allowing the sport to grow and fulfil its potential – on the domestic and international stage.
“We thank the team at IMG for the detailed and dedicated work that underpinned this recommendation.”