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Premiership reportedly propose season without relegation to form 13-team division

Automatic relegation could also be scrapped in favour of a play-off between the existing top-tier side and the best Championship club.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

ENGLAND’S TOP TIER of rugby, the Premiership, could be expanded from 12 to 13 teams after next season.

Premiership Rugby, the Telegraph report, have lodged a proposal to the RFU’s management board to play the 2019/20 season without relegation and reinstate it after next year’s Championship winners take up the 13th place for 2020/21.

The move could benefit the likes of Worcester, Leicester or big-spending London Irish as they try to find their feet back in the Premiership. 

Newcastle were condemned to relegation this season despite an impressive run in Europe that included wins away to Toulon and at home to Montpellier.

A separate proposal for the board to consider would end automatic relegation from the Premiership from 2021/22 onwards. Instead, the proposed change would see the lowest-ranked side pitted against the Championship winners in a play-off. A fixture that, in theory, would benefit the larger budgets of the existing top tier clubs.

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