League 1 (rugby league)
|Current season or competition::
2017 League 1
|Number of teams||16|
|Countries|| England (13 teams)
Wales (2 teams)
Canada (1 team)
|Champions||Rochdale Hornets (1st title) (2016)|
|Most titles|| York City Knights
Dewsbury Rams (2 titles)
|Website||kingstone press leagues|
|Broadcast partner||Sky Sports
Premier Sports (Toronto matches)
|Related competitions||Domestic Cup: Challenge Cup
League Cup: League 1 Cup
League 1, formerly Championship 1 and currently known as Kingstone Press League 1 for sponsorship reasons, is a professional rugby league competition based in England. The competition also features clubs from Canada and Wales. It is the RFL's third-tier competition, below the Championship, with which it has promotion and relegation.
The league was inaugurated in 2003 when the Northern Ford Premiership was divided into two separate leagues, initially named National League One and National League Two. In 2009, the league names were changed to the Championship and Championship 1 respectively, with the latter adopting its current name of League 1 in 2015.
- 1 History
- 2 Clubs
- 3 Structure
- 4 Results
- 5 Match officials
- 6 Sponsor
- 7 Expansion
- 8 Media
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
1991–2003: Foundation and regular competition
Third-division rugby league competitions in the United Kingdom have existed periodically since 1991. The current incarnation was created in 2003 when the second-division competition below Super League, the Northern Ford Premiership, was split into National Leagues One and Two. Teams that finished in the top ten league positions of the Northern Ford Premiership at the end of the 2002 season formed National League One, while the remaining eight formed National League Two where they were joined by two additional clubs, London Skolars from the Rugby League Conference and York City Knights, who replaced the defunct York Wasps and also joined National League Two for the inaugural season in 2003.
2004–2009: National Leagues
At the end of the 2005 Super League season, an extra team was relegated to National League One in order to accommodate French side Catalans Dragons' entry to the competition. In turn, an additional team was relegated from National League One to League Two, while Blackpool Panthers were elected to National League Two for the 2005 season to replace the defunct Chorley Lynx, leaving 11 teams in League Two. In order to even up the numbers, 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.
2010–2014: Championship 1
In 2009 Super League was expanded to 14 teams, with two additional teams being promoted from National League One. In turn, two additional teams were promoted from National League Two to National League One at the end of the 2008 season, reducing the number of teams in National League Two to 10. National Leagues One and Two were then rebranded as Championship and Championship 1 respectively, with the change being implemented in time for the 2009 season.
South Wales Scorpions were admitted to Championship 1 for the 2010 season, increasing the number of teams in the league to 11. Blackpool Panthers left the league in 2011, once again reducing the number of teams to 10. In 2013, three new teams were admitted to the league; Hemel Stags, Gloucestershire All Golds and Oxford Rugby League. To facilitate this expansion, in 2012 four teams were promoted to the Championship from Championship 1 and no teams were relegated from the Championship, meaning that the 2013 Championship 1 season was contested by 9 teams.
2015–present: League 1
In 2014 expansion and restructure took place with 5 teams relegated from the Championship and Coventry Bears added to expand the league to 14 teams, which was then renamed League 1. A new playoff structure was also introduced with two teams being promoted to the Championship. In 2015 the League 1 Cup was introduced as an additional competition for League 1 clubs. In 2016 Toulouse Olympique joined the league, bringing the total number of teams to 15. Toronto Wolfpack will join the league from 2017, taking the total number of teams to 16.
Under the amended structure, the 16 League 1 clubs play a regular season of 15 rounds. Following the conclusion of their regular league seasons, the 16 clubs then compete in a play-off series where they split into 2 divisions of 8 based upon league position:
- The top eight League 1 clubs compete in the League 1 Super 8s. They play each other once (either home or away) to determine which five clubs will compete in the playoffs.
- The remaining (bottom eight) League 1 clubs compete for the League 1 Shield. The team finishing bottom collects the wooden spoon.
*capacity for Rugby League games may differ from official stadium capacity.
League 1 has a system of promotion and relegation with the Championship. At the end of the season, two League 1 teams are promoted via end of season playoffs while the bottom two teams in the Championship are relegated to League 1.
The 16 League 1 teams play each other once home or away for a total of 15 regular season fixtures. Two points are awarded for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. Following the conclusion of the regular season, the league is split into two groups of eight as part of the Rugby League Super 8s.
The top eight teams in League 1 following the conclusion of the regular season form the League 1 Super 8s, and each play each other once more to complete the league season. The team finishing in first place following the Super 8s phase is awarded the League Leaders Shield and hosts the Promotion Final against the team finishing second – the winners of this final are named Champions and promoted to the Championship. The loser of the Promotion Final enters the playoffs along with the teams finishing third, fourth and fifth to determine the second team to be promoted to the Championship.
League 1 Shield
The bottom eight teams in League 1 at the end of the regular season compete for the League 1 Shield. They each play each other once more after which the teams finishing the season in first and second place contest the League 1 Shield Final, to be hosted by the team finishing first.
Following the Super 8s phase, the teams finishing first and second in the League 1 Super 8s contest the Promotion Final, while the teams finishing third, fourth and fifth qualify for the play offs along with the loser of the Promotion Final.
The winners are League 1 Champions and are promoted to the Championship.
- 1st v 2nd
The loser of the Promotion Final hosts the team finishing fifth, while the team finishing third hosts the team finishing fourth. The winners play in the Playoff Final which is hosted by the highest ranked team.
|1||Promotion Final runners-up|
|Winner of Semi Final 1|
|Winner of Semi Final 2|
All rugby league matches are governed by the laws set out by the RFL; these laws are enforced by match officials. Former Super League and International Referee Steve Ganson is the current Acting Head of the Match Officials Department and Technical Director. Former Hull F.C. player and Huddersfield head coach Jon Sharp was the previous head of the match officials department of the RFL. Sharp was sacked in July 2015 and took up the role of head coach at Featherstone Rovers. He assumed his role at the RFL following Stuart Cummings' departure in March 2013 having previously held the role of match officials coach and technical director.
League 1 has had three sponsors since 2003. Between 2003 and 2008 it was called the LHF Healthplan National League 2 before it was renamed the Championship 1 in 2009 and sponsored by Cooperative.
|2003–2008||LHF Healthplan||LHF Healthplan National League 2|
|2009–2012||Cooperative||Cooperative Championship 1|
|2013–2014||Kingstone Press Cider||Kingstone Press Championship 1|
|2015–2017||Kingstone Press League 1|
The current RFL policy is to add expansion teams to the professional structure via entry to League 1. In 2011, the RFL invited expressions of interest for four additional English teams to join the competition starting in 2013. Of the 16 interested parties, three teams, University of Gloucestershire All Golds, Hemel Stags and Oxford Rugby League were accepted to join the league and began play in 2013, a fourth, the Northampton Town F.C.-linked Northampton Rebels were also accepted, but ultimately decided not to proceed. An additional team, Coventry Bears, were also accepted in September 2012, however it was decided that they would join from the 2014 season to give them additional time to prepare. Coventry again deferred their membership in 2014, eventually joining the league for the 2015 season.
In 2015 it was announced that Toulouse Olympique, after talks with the RFL, had accepted the proposal to rejoin the English league structure in League 1 for the 2016 season, airing their aims for promotion in their maiden League 1 season in a bid to eventually achieve Super League status.
|Confirmed expansion clubs|
|Hemel Stags||21 February 2012||Pennine Way||2,000||Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire|
|Gloucestershire All Golds||9 May 2012||Prince of Wales Stadium||480||Cheltenham, Gloucestershire|
|Oxford||18 September 2012||Iffley Road||500||Oxford, Oxfordshire|
|Coventry Bears||2015||Butts Park Arena||4,000||Coventry, West Midlands|
|Toulouse Olympique||2016||Stade des Minimes||4,066||Toulouse, Haute-Garonne|
|Toronto Wolfpack||2017||Lamport Stadium||9,600||Toronto, Ontario|
League 1 games in the past have been televised rarely and sporadically. Matches were previously broadcast in the UK on Premier Sports and infrequently on Sky Sports, however as of 2015 the competition does not receive television coverage. The newest member of the league, Toronto Wolfpack, has announced before the 2017 season that all of their games will be shown live on Canadian channel GameTV, as well as digitally on CBC Sports.
(Grand Final Only)
Regional radio stations, including BBC Local Radio and local commercial stations, provide coverage of the League 1 clubs.
- Rugby League Championships
- British rugby league system
- Super League
- National Conference League
- Northern Ford Premiership
- National League Cup
- "RFL CHIEF EXECUTIVE POLICY REVIEW" (PDF). Media.therfl.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
- "Super League: Competition restructures confirmed". Bbc.com. 17 January 2014.
- "Northampton Town FC to run rugby league team from 2013". BBC Sport. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- "Hemel Join Rugby League Championship 1". RFL. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- "All Golds to join Championship One". RFL. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- "Gloucestershire All Golds to join Championship One in 2013". BBC Sport. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- "Oxford to be admitted to Championship One". BBC Sport. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- "Coventry Bears: Midlands amateur side targeted as semi-pro club". BBC Sport. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- "Toulouse Olympique XIII en route to England and League One". Toulouse Official Website. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
- "Canadian team to join English rugby league setup". ESPN. 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
- "#Super8s". Extraordinaryrugby.com. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
- "Wolfpack Secure Canadian Broadcast Partner". Torontowolfpack.com. 1 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
- "CBC Sports, Toronto Wolfpack announce broadcast agreement". Cbc.ca. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017.