In Betfred League One, the team finishing top of the table after 20 rounds will win automatic promotion to the Championship, with a second promotion place determined by a five-team Play-Off series, for the teams finishing second to sixth – and the bottom two teams in the Championship relegated.
Another feature of the fixture lists for the Betfred Championship and League One is confirmation of the details of the 1895 Cup – the new competition offering a second opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium on Challenge Cup Final day, August 24, for the RFL member clubs outside the Super League.
Four League One clubs will earn the right to join the 12 English Championship clubs in the second round of the 1895 Cup in the week starting June 3 – following the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup, which are scheduled for the weekend of June 1-2.
The 1895 Cup quarter finals will be played in the week starting June 26, with the semi finals to be played as a double header on the same weekend as the semi finals of the Challenge Cup – July 27-28.
Toronto and Toulouse will not play in the 1895 Cup.
Ralph Rimmer, the chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “There’s so much to look forward to in Betfred Championship and League One in 2019.
“Betfred League One contains what has become the usual blend of clubs from different parts of the country, with the guarantee that two of them will be promoted to the Championship in 2020.
“And we hope the introduction of the 1895 Cup will provide an extra flavour to the season as we get into the summer, making that dream of playing at Wembley much more realistic for the Championship and League One clubs.”
Betfred League One, opening round (February 16-17): Coventry Bears v West Wales Raiders, Newcastle Thunder v Doncaster, Oldham v Workington Town, Whitehaven v Keighley Cougars. (Hunslet have a bye, while London Skolars have rearranged their opening fixture against North Wales Crusaders for May).
Challenge Cup League One clubs enter Round 3, March 9-10. Championship clubs enter Round 4, March 30-31. Round 5, April 13-14; Round 6, May 11-12; Quarter Finals, June 1-2. Semi Finals, July 27-28. Final (Wembley Stadium connected by EE) – Saturday August 24.
1895 Cup Round One (League One clubs) – weekend of May 4-5. Round Two – week starting June 5 (midweek games). Round Three (quarter finals) – week starting June 26 (midweek games). Semi Finals – July 27/28 (weekend games). Final (Wembley Stadium connected by EE) – Saturday August 24.