BULLS will fancy their chances of promotion this season, after the planned structure for the Championship was announced this lunchtime.

The top six will face off in a play-off series between September and October, after a slightly shortened season, which is due to begin on Easter Weekend.

Each team will play nine of the other 13 teams twice, and the other four once, in the 22-round formula that has been agreed with the clubs – with a decision to be made on a possible 23rd round in the Summer Bash in the coming weeks.

Clubs have already agreed that games played behind closed doors will be streamed live on the RFL’s Our League platforms (app & website) on a pay per view basis.

This will allow supporters to watch fixtures even if they cannot attend in person – with home season ticket holders given free access to the live stream packages for their club’s league games.

There is a desire to minimise the number of fixtures played behind closed doors before the return of fans to grounds, so for similar reasons to the Championship above, the start of League 1 has been put back until the weekend of May 8-9.

This will still allow each team to play the other nine twice in an 18-round season before a play-off series.

Details of promotion and relegation mechanisms between the divisions will be discussed and finalised at a meeting of clubs early next month – ahead of the publication of fixtures for Championship and League 1.

But both Championship and League 1 clubs have targeted the weekend of March 21 as their return date for professional rugby league fixtures - one year and one week since they were last in action.

That is when the first round of the 2021 Challenge Cup is set to be played, featuring all 13 UK clubs from the Championship, plus three from League 1.

That will be followed by the second round the following weekend, with the winners of those four ties earning a double reward.

One will be a place in the third round of the Challenge Cup, when the 12 Super League clubs join the competition, and the other will be a spot in the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup in June, meaning they will be 80 minutes away from a place at Wembley on July 17.

Details of the draw for the first two rounds of the Challenge Cup will be announced shortly. The three Betfred League 1 clubs due to enter are Barrow Raiders, Keighley Cougars and West Wales Raiders.

Entry to the Challenge Cup was made optional for the 10 League 1 clubs, with the RFL stressing the importance of public health and financial considerations.

The majority remained keen to enter, but that would have required an additional, preliminary round on March 14 – which teams were not keen on.

The idea was scrapped, meaning there were only three available spaces for League 1 sides in the first round, which have been filled by Barrow, Keighley and West Wales.