Club Rugby Board confirms 2024/2025 season structure

Club Rugby Board confirms 2024/2025 season structure

Issued on behalf of the Club Rugby Board (CRB) by Scottish Rugby.

The Club Rugby Board (CRB) agreed last night to progress with a 12-team Premiership for season 2024/25 at their meeting determining the coming season’s structure.

For the forthcoming transition season 2024/25 Watsonians FC and Melrose Rugby will move to the Premiership and Boroughmuir FC and Stirling County RFC will move to National League Division 1. Ayr RFC and Heriot’s Rugby will also play in the Premiership where they would have competed next season anyway.

In the following season 2025/26 the Premiership and National Leagues will return to 10-team competitions. The decision was reached after discussions considering the merits of seven potential options for how season 2024/25 could be structured to re-integrate the Super Series teams and their players.

During consultation, different groups of clubs had differing opinions on their preferred options. In this context, CRB worked through each of the options presented using three principles which were agreed by the Scottish Rugby Limited and Scottish Rugby Union Boards to come to their decision. These were:

  • To be as fair to as many clubs as possible
  • Least disruption to 10-team National League structures and regional leagues
  • No club to be seriously inconvenienced.

These criteria were applied through a process of elimination when considering each of the seven options to reach a final decision. Option 2 emerged as the best option to balance out the criteria.

Scottish Rugby Vice President and Chair of the CRB, Keith Wallace, thanked his colleagues on the board for the quality of the discussions and the clubs who contributed to the consultation process in an open and honest manner.

“This was always going to be a difficult decision to come to. We have followed a consultative, robust and constructive process.

“I’m pleased we’ve reached a positive outcome, and we now have clarity on a way forward for the coming season, which will allow preparations to begin.”

Further consultation will now take place with clubs with teams in National Leagues 2 & 3 to discuss the implications of creating nine team leagues for Season 2024/25 for one season only.

CRB gave consideration to the proposal put forward by the National 2/3/4 Forum to retain 10 teams in National 2 & 3, however in returning to 10 team leagues in Season 2025/26 there would be further disruption to National 4 as five teams would be relegated which in turn would impact the Regional Leagues. This was not adopted.

In addition to changes being implemented for 1st XV teams, discussions will be initiated to understand how these may impact the Reserve Leagues and what clubs wish to see for their reserve teams next season.

During the consultation process there was a groundswell of opinion across all leagues to stop player payments in the Premiership and the CRB has initiated a review and will report back in due course.

Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development Gav Scott said the season structure consultation was a challenging process given the tight timeframe and range of possible outcomes under consideration.

“We were always mindful there will some disruption for this transition season on clubs somewhere within the league structure however we now have clarity on the way forward.

“We’ve been encouraged by the level of engagement and collaboration from clubs across the country. They have helped to ensure there was a wide range of views informing the CRB to make its decision.”

Scottish Rugby’s competitions department will begin work on shaping the coming season’s league structures, taking into account the CRB’s decision to adopt Option 2. Further communications about the 2024-25 season will be released later.

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