There will be a play-off between the Premiership's bottom team and the Championship winners

Promotion to the Premiership may return after a play-off between the league’s bottom-placed side and the winners of the Championship was announced by the RFU.

However, the game will only take place if the team that wins the Championship meets the RFU’s minimum standards criteria. Jersey Reds won this year’s second-tier competition but were not promoted. Doncaster Knights and Ealing Trailfinders, who came second, applied for approval last year with only the former, who finished sixth, receiving approval.

The last side to win promotion to the Premiership was the league’s reigning champions Saracens, who bounced straight back up to the top flight in 2021 after being demoted for breaching the salary cap.

The two-legged Premiership promotion play-off fixture is scheduled to take place on the weekends of 31 May-2 June and 7-9 June.

The RFU confirmed the Championship will be a 12-team league when announcing the fixtures for 2023-24, with the season getting underway on 21 October.

Related: Rugby Fixtures

RFU director of performance rugby Conor O’Shea added: “The 2022-23 season finale went down the wire with only two points ultimately separating the top two teams in the table, showcasing the drama of the Championship, and we can expect more of the same in the upcoming season.

“We’re really pleased to welcome Cambridge, who had a fantastic season in National 1, and will be a great addition to the Championship.”

Championship committee chairman, Simon Halliday, said: “This is a hugely important year for all Championship clubs, and I wish each of them the very best for the coming season.

“I would particularly like to welcome Cambridge who achieved a wonderful promotion and I know that they will add greatly to the league as did Caldy last year.

“As the incoming chairman I look forward to helping build on the work already done as the English game looks towards the future and a sustainable recovery.”

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