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English Clubs Championships

Paul Diggin of Northampton celebrates after scoring a last minute, match winning try in the Guinness Premiership

Photo: Getty Images

Competition Overview

The English Clubs Rugby Union Championship was formed in 1987 and at that time consisted of leagues of 11 clubs playing 10 matches per season.

Over the years this structure has developed into the pyramid that we know today headed by the Aviva Premiership at level one all the way down to level 12.

League sizes vary according to the position within the pyramid structure and the demands of the clubs involved. For additional information take a look at all the Fixtures & Results section.

The organisation of the 100-plus leagues is delegated by the RFU to various Organising Committees, but all leagues follow the dates set out on the RFU structured season. The competitions are governed by the Game Regulations that are amended and approved by the RFU Council. Matches run from the end of August until May each season with promotion and relegation subsequent to the results.


For teams at level three and below the RFU provides financial assistance for long distance travel based on the distance between clubhouses.  Payments are calculated by each Organising Committee and are paid according to the RFU schedule. 

Clubs do not have to claim for these payments as they are made automatically. Details of this and all other payments are sent to all clubs prior to start of the season.


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