RFU reintroduces promotion, relegation to England's top tiers

English rugby will restore promotion and relegation between the top-flight Premiership and second-tier Championship via a two-legged playoff, England's Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Friday.

Saracens were relegated in the 2019-20 season when they finished bottom due to a points deduction but no team went down in the following two seasons due to the COVID recovery measures introduced by the RFU.

Worcester Warriors and Wasps were automatically relegated last season after they entered administration and no team were demoted in the 2023-24 campaign.

"Council approved the mechanism for promotion and relegation which will be a two-match home and away playoff between the bottom placed Premiership club and the winner of the Championship/Tier 2," the RFU said in a statement.

The Championship winners, however, will need to meet the minimum standards criteria (MSC).

"This continues to allow for promotion and relegation, better provides a mechanism to determine on-field competitiveness and takes into consideration the financial challenges of clubs in both leagues," the RFU added.