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RFUAdult Male Future Competitions Structure from season 2022/23


The RFU Council met Friday 16 April, and has approved three further elements of the Future Competitions Structure group recommendations for a new competition structure for the adult male game from Level 3 down, for implementation from the 2022/23 season.

The vote follows an 18-month review into the current competition structure, which has included extensive consultation sessions with Council Members, Constituent Bodies, Club administrators, competition organisers, match officials, coaches and players, in addition to webinars, a national survey and detailed analysis of available data.

The three resolutions passed today are in addition to those recommendations previously approved by Council on 27 November 2020, which are summarised below:

  1. The size of leagues at Levels 5 and below to be capped at 12 teams, and at Levels 3 & 4 to be capped at 14 teams
  2. At all levels there will be a protected two-week break over the Christmas period and protected weekend breaks (at points to be determined through the season)
  3. A rapid review of competition structures will take place every three years

At today’s Council meeting, the following resolutions have been agreed:

1.  League Rugby – English Clubs Championship at Level 3 and below

From season 2022/23, the English Clubs Championship at Level 3 and below will consist of:

  1. One league at Level 3
  2. Three leagues at Level 4
  3. Six leagues at Level 5
  4. Twelve leagues at Level 6
  5. Approximately sixteen leagues at Level 7*
  6. Approximately 20 leagues at Level 8*
  7. At Level 9 and below will be determined by the relevant organising committee*

*Exact number of leagues to be determined by final size of leagues, number of team entries and local need.

At Level 4 to 6 this will be implemented on a regional basis, whereas at Level 7 and below this will be implemented on a broadly Constituent Body (CB) boundary basis (retaining some flexibility where it makes sense for clubs on CB borders to play in different CBs).

2)  Cup Rugby – Level 5 and below

From season 2022/23, cup rugby will be delivered after the league season (per level, from Level 5 and below) with mid-season (optional) entry for teams.

The competition format will be determined such that pools will operate at Level 5 and top tier of Level 6, and with regional knockout waterfall competitions at the bottom tier of Level 6 and for Level 7 and below, all culminating in ‘Community Game Finals’.

3)  Lower XV teams

From season 2022/23, Lower XV teams will be able to play in the English Clubs Championship up to and including Level 7, subject to specific criteria to be set out in the RFU Regulations.

More detailed information regarding implementation and regulation will be communicated throughout the remainder of this season.