Toulouse to return to French competition
The RFL can confirm that Toulouse Olympique will not play in the Co-operative Championship and are to return to the French domestic competition in 2012.
The decision was reached following full consultation between the RFL, the French Federation and Toulouse, who will continue to face regular competition against British opposition in both the Carnegie Challenge Cup and Northern Rail Cup.
Toulouse have been guaranteed a place in the Northern Rail Cup for 2012 and automatic entry into the Challenge Cup for the next three seasons.
The absence of Toulouse, allied to Widnes Vikings’ success in securing a three-year Super League licence from the 2012 season, means that the Co-operative Championships are expected to comprise two 10-team competitions next year.
The RFL is currently in the process of finalising the structure of the Championships for 2012 and is awaiting an application to participate in the Championship from Crusaders.
Should Crusaders be accepted into the Championship as the displaced Super League club, two clubs will be relegated from the Championship – the clubs which finish ninth and tenth - and two clubs, Championship One champions Swinton Lions and the Play-off Final winners, will be promoted.
Should Crusaders not be accepted into the Championship, one club – the club which finishes 10th in the 2011 Championship – will be relegated and two clubs, Swinton Lions and the Championship One Play-off Final winners, will be promoted.
In the absence of a second Welsh club, Championship One will run as a nine-team competition in 2012.
Promotion into the Co-operative Championship will be dependent on clubs meeting minimum standards for that competition.
Crusaders have been given until 5.00pm on Friday September 2 to submit their application to join the Co-operative Championship in 2012 to enable the RFL Board of Directors to finalise the competition structure prior to the commencement of the play-offs next week