The RFL have confirmed how the new summer based structure will look for the entire sport.
Amateur clubs have, over the past year, been invited to look at and take part in the RFL’s plans to integrate the entire sport from a winter playing season to summer.
Over 80 per cent of all rugby league teams will be playing in summer from 2012, and the RFL have revealed a final pyramid structure for the men’s game that will categorised leagues based on how high the standard is within that league.
Tier one will be Super League, tier two will comprise of both Championships while tier three will include top level amateur teams from the National Conference League and Rugby League National Conference.
Tier three will be split between four leagues named Conference Premier, Conference One, Conference Two and Conference Three. The top three leagues will be managed by the NCL committee and will consist of predominantly NCL clubs who have just switched from winter to summer. The RFL will continue to manage Conference Three that will be made up of teams from the Rugby League Conference National.
Tier four will consist of regional leagues and the remaining amateur clubs, including winter leagues such as North West Counties and the Pennine League.
The RFL’s director of participation David Gent said: “The whole sport of Rugby League will benefit from having an integrated playing calendar which covers both the professional and community game for the first time.
He said: “The RFL will make a concerted effort to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for clubs and that the essence of the Rugby League Conference continues as a successful development competition to expand the sport nationally with opportunities at all levels.”
Gent also confirmed that the long term goal is to see Conference Three become a NCL equivalent Conference South.
Trevor Hunt, National Conference League chairman said: “It’s a new dawn for Rugby League and one that we all hope meets the demands of players, administrators and spectators intent on enjoying a sport for the 21st century.
“As far as the switch to summer for heartland clubs is concerned, all eyes will be on those 40 NCL clubs who have opted to make the switch, to see just how successful they will be in this whole new world.
“It’s as exciting a challenge at grassroots level as anything that has gone before and we will all be working flat out to make it a success not just for 2012 but for the very future of Rugby League.”