- Championship 1
Championship 1 Current season or competition:
2011 Championship 1
Sport Rugby league football Inaugural season 2003 Number of teams 10 Countries England
Champions Swinton Lions (2011) Website cooperativechampionship.co.uk Related competition Co-operative Championship
Northern Rail Cup
Championship 1, known as The Co-operative Championship 1 due to sponsorship by The Co-operative Group, is a rugby league competition based in the United Kingdom. It acts as the country's third-tier competition behind the Championship, with which it has a system of promotion and relegation. It is currently contested by ten teams, eight from England and two from Wales. It is organized by the Rugby Football League, the governing body for the sport in the UK.
The current incarnation of third-tier British rugby league dates to 2003, when the Northern Ford Premiership was divided into National League One and National League Two. With the addition of the French team Toulouse Olympique in 2009, the names were changed to the Championship and Championship 1, respectively. The current champions are Swinton Lions, who were promoted to the Championship along with play-off winners Keighley Cougars
Championship 1 teams are only allowed one quota player, other than Gateshead Thunder and London Skolars, to compensate for the lack of amateur clubs outside the rugby league heartlands from which to recruit.
Third-division rugby league competitions in the United Kingdom have existed periodically since 1991. The current incarnation was created in 2003 when the existing second-division competition below the Super League, the Northern Ford Premiership, was split into National Leagues One and Two. Teams that finished in the top ten of the NFP joined National League One and the bottom nine joined National League Two. They were joined by London Skolars from the Rugby League Conference who entered National League Two. York City Knights replaced the defunct York Wasps and joined National League Two in 2003.
At the same time, National League Three was created with teams from the Rugby League Conference and from the British Amateur Rugby League Association amateur leagues. It was intended that there would be promotion and relegation between National League Two and National League Three when League Three became more established.
At the end of the 2005 an extra team was relegated from Super League in order to accommodate French side Catalans Dragons. In turn an additional team was relegated from National League One; thus the number of teams in this division remained at ten. Blackpool Panthers were elected to National League Two for the 2005 season to replace the defunct Chorley Lynx. In order to even up the numbers in National League Two, the Welsh team Celtic Crusaders were admitted to the competition in 2005, first playing in the 2006 season and increasing the division to twelve teams.
In 2007, National League Three was scrapped and rebranded as the Rugby League Conference National Division. With the addition of the French team Toulouse Olympique to National League One in 2009, National Leagues One and Two were renamed to the Championship and Championship 1, respectively. South Wales Scorpions were admitted to Championship 1 for the 2010 season.
Championship 1 has a system of promotion and relegation with the Championship. At the end of the season, the bottom two teams in the Championship are relegated to Championship 1. Two Championship 1 teams are promoted: the team finishing top of the competition, and the winner of a top six play-offs competition between the six teams finishing behind the league leaders.
There is no promotion or relegation between Championship 1 and the Rugby League Conference at the present; current RFL policy is to expand the top two leagues gradually over time. As yet no clubs have been admitted to Championship 1 from the Rugby League Conference since the London Skolars.
A cup competition, the National League Cup, is played for by all clubs in the Championship and Championship 1; in 2005 four National League Three clubs were also admitted, in 2006 five League Three teams were admitted. The teams are organised into regional conferences, with knock-out stages following from the group stage. In 2007 four Rugby League Conference teams are scheduled to be included.
From 2007 the competition used a new points system:
Win – three points; Draw – two points; Loss by 12 points or fewer - one point.
Championship 1 Team Stadium Capacity City/Area Barrow Raiders Craven Park 7,600 Barrow, Cumbria Doncaster Keepmoat Stadium 15,231 Doncaster, South Yorkshire Gateshead Thunder Thunderdome 11,800 Gateshead, Tyne and Wear London Skolars New River Stadium 5,000 Haringey, London North Wales Crusaders Racecourse Ground 15,500 Wrexham, Wales Oldham Roughyeds Whitebank Stadium 2,000 (Developing) Oldham, Greater Manchester Rochdale Hornets Spotland Stadium 10,249 Rochdale, Greater Manchester South Wales Scorpions The Gnoll 5,000 Neath, West Glamorgan, Wales Whitehaven Recreation Ground 7,500 Whitehaven, Cumbria Workington Town Derwent Park 10,000 Workington, Cumbria
The RFL plan to expand the game outside the heartlands from 2013 onwards. Sixteen clubs have expressed interest in joining the professional ranks, out of those the RFL have picked seven as potential inclusions; Medway Dragons, Hemel Stags, Bristol Sonics, Coventry Bears, Chester Gladiators and Oxford Cavaliers, who will be selected and announced one at a time over the next four months and will be given support from the RFL. There will also be no relegation from the Championship; instead clubs will be promoted from Championship 1 to make way for the new clubs. Minimum standards, such as a 3,000 stadium capacity, will apply in the 14-club Championship. The RFL have also announced Premier Sports have agreed to broadcast the Championships, taking over from Sky Sports.
- See Rugby Football League Championship Third Division for winners of the old Third Division.
Season Champions Also promoted Relegated from Championship Wooden Spoon 2003 Keighley Cougars none Dewsbury Rams 2004 Barrow Raiders1 none Keighley Cougars 2005 York City Knights1 none Barrow Raiders
2006 Dewsbury Rams1 Sheffield Eagles Oldham Roughyeds
York City Knights
Blackpool Panthers 2007 Crusaders Featherstone Rovers Rochdale Hornets
Blackpool Panthers 2008 Gateshead Thunder Barrow Raiders
Dewsbury Rams Hunslet Hawks 2009 Dewsbury Rams Keighley Cougars Gateshead Thunder
London Skolars 2010 Hunslet Hawks York City Knights Whitehaven
Gateshead Thunder 2011 Swinton Lions Keighley Cougars Toulouse Olympique2
- British rugby league system
- Super League
- Rugby League Conference
- Northern Ford Premiership
- National League Cup
- Official Championship website
- RFL Championship coverage
- Scores from Sky Sports
- RugbyLeague.org Championship 1 Fans Forums
Rugby League in Great Britain and Ireland Nations Federations National Teams LeaguesSuper League · Championship · Championship 1 · National Conference League · CMS Yorkshire league · North West Counties · Pennine League · Cumberland League · Hull & District League · Barrow & District League · Rugby League Conference · North West Merit League · Yorkshire & Humber Merit League · North Wales League · Midlands Rugby League · London League · Eastern Merit League Cups Former
Co-operative Championship 1 Championship 1 teams Seasons See also: Rugby Football League Championship Third Division
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