Betfred Championship and AB Sundecks 1895 Cup structures confirmed for 2024

Widnes Vikings can today provide confirmation from the RFL on the structures for the 2024 Betfred Championship and AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.

Following a meeting of Betfred Championship and League One clubs last month the RFL Board has confirmed the structure for the 2024 season – including a new, expanded format for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.

Despite a push for a single division outside of the Super League, the Betfred Championship will continue as a 14-team competition in 2024, with League One set to remain a nine-team competition next season.

In the Championship, the structure will once again see the top six teams qualify for a Play-Off series culminating in a Grand Final to determine the champions. This will be played at the home ground of the team ranked highest during the regular season.

The Vikings will continue to compete in a 26-round season, playing each team home and away in 2024. There will be no Summer Bash in the fixture calendar for 2024.

However, in response to representations from League One clubs that they would benefit from being able to offer more fixtures to their supporters, a new structure has been devised for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.

The 2024 format will see the 13 England-based Championship clubs join eight League One clubs (Cornwall will not be taking part) in seven groups of three. Groups will be seeded and regionalised, with League One clubs awarded home advantage in any fixtures against Championship opposition.

The top team in each group will qualify for the Quarter Finals, joined by the best-performing second-placed team – the latter to be determined by competition points initially and then, if necessary, by points difference.

The first round of group fixtures in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup will be played on the weekend of January 27-28. The remaining two rounds of group fixtures will be played in February, alternating with the early rounds of the Betfred Challenge Cup. Quarter-finals will be played on March 3, semi-finals on May 12 and the final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, June 8.

Further details will be provided when the full fixtures list for the Betfred Championship, League One, and the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup is published on Sunday, December 3.

Importantly, clubs in both leagues have been invited to join a forum to consider the best structure below Super League for 2025 and beyond, the intention being to announce decisions before the start of the 2024 league competitions to provide clarity around promotion and relegation between any divisions.