The Rugby Football Union has confirmed that there will be no relegation from either the Premiership or Championship at the end of the current season.
One team will be promoted from the Championship, meaning next year’s Premiership will consist of 13 teams, and the Championship 11.
That team is widely expected to be Saracens, who were relegated at the end of the 2019/2020 due to points deductions emanating from salary cap violations.
The RFU Council today cast a “strong majority vote” in favour of the move.
Rugby has been hit hard by restrictions on fan attendance, especially in the Championship, with many clubs still unsure of their financial future.
The season, which will start in March, will hit clubs with costs nearing £100,000 for Covid-19 testing alone. Cornish Pirates are amongst the clubs who have launched fundraising drives.
Community clubs like Richmond have also seen their central RFU funding reduced.
A number of games have been cancelled in the Premiership due to Covid-19 protocols, which RFU Council members said “have resulted in a material impact on league positions which could mean relegation based on cancellation not on field merit.”