THE Rugby Football League (RFL) have confirmed the structure of the 2024 season for Betfred Championship and Betfred League One clubs, including a new, expanded format for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.

Bulls currently play in the Championship, and after rumours of the division merging with League 1, which contains Bradford’s neighbours Keighley Cougars, the format of the two leagues for the 2024 season has now been confirmed by the RFL. 

The Championship will continue as a 14-team division with the top six finishing in the play-offs, ending in a Grand Final which will be played at the highest seeding side.

League 1 is set to be a nine-club competition, with Newcastle Thunder hopeful of returning for 2024.

If that is the case, each side will play 20 matches – 10 at home, and 10 away.

This will involve four loop fixtures for each team, to be determined by seedings based on 2023 finishing positions.

A contingency model has also been devised for an eight-team competition, which would see each team play the other three times in a 21-round programme.

Cougars have confirmed that the team winning the League Leaders' Shield will be promoted to the Championship, alongside the winner of the League 1 play-off final, which will take place on October 6 at the home ground of the team ranked highest during the regular season.

Clubs in both leagues, including the Bulls, have been invited to join a forum to consider the structure of the divisions below the Betfred Super League for 2025 and beyond, in order to provide clarity around promotion and relegation between the divisions.

The 1895 Cup has also had a re-shuffle, with the 13-based English Championship sides joining eight League 1 clubs, with Cornwall offering to not participate, in seven groups of three.

The groups will be regionalised, with the League 1 clubs hosting the Championship clubs, before a knockout stage that begins at the quarter-finals, which will be made up of the seven group winners and the best performing second-placed side.

The full fixture list of the 1895 Cup will be released on Sunday, December 3, with the first round of games taking place on the weekend of January 27. 

Quarter-finals will be played on March 3, semi-finals on May 12 and the final at Wembley Stadium on June 8.