League 1 to adopt Super 8s format

The controversial split system will come in to force in Kingstone Press League 1 next season, should Toulouse join the competition as expected.

In a move that follows on from the moderate early success of the Super 8s competitions across Super League and the Championship, it is proposed that League 1 will also now split part-way through the season.

If Toulouse join, which is subject to them agreeing to the conditions of their entry, League 1 will become a 15-team competition.

The clubs will play each other once over 15 weeks, before dividing into a League 1 Super 8 and a seven-team League 1 Shield.

In the League 1 Super 8, teams play each other once with the top four teams having four home fixtures and the bottom four having three home fixtures. 

After seven matches, first will play second in the League 1 Promotion Final with the winning team promoted; the losing team will enter a four-club play-off with a home fixture against the fifth-placed team whilst second plays third. The winners of those two matches will then contest a play-off final for the second promotion place.

In the League 1 Shield, the teams will play each other once (three home and three away) before the first- and second-placed teams compete in a play-off final for the League 1 Shield trophy.

The 2016 season will again start with the iPro Sport Cup, with the first round draw made from two pools based on a geographical split. As in 2015, the 14 UK-based League 1 clubs will be joined by two community clubs in the first round draw.

From the second round onwards, draws will open culminating in the iPro Sport Cup final, played at the 2016 Summer Bash.

Should Toulouse not enter League 1 in 2016 an alternative format will be introduced, details of which are currently under consideration with the clubs.

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood believes the new structure is a natural evolution of the format that is currently generating considerable excitement and uncertainty of outcome in Super League and the Championship.

“The new structure brings an exciting edge to Kingstone Press League 1 that will see every minute matter for every club, just as we are seeing in Super League and the Championship this summer,” said Wood.

“I would like to thank the clubs for their positive contribution to the consultation process that has led to them embracing the new structure and giving it their unanimous support.

“We are thrilled by the prospect of the return of Toulouse Olympique to a competition which has already blazing trails across the UK.  I am sure they will receive a warm welcome from all the League 1 clubs.

“Just as Catalans Dragons have enhanced Super League, Toulouse would bring much to League 1 as it continues to fulfil its role as an incubator competition for aspirational clubs.”

 

The RFL remains in dialogue with a Canadian consortium which is looking to enter a Toronto-based team into Kingstone Press League 1 from 2017 onwards and continues to carry out due diligence with all interested parties.

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