Northampton Rebels will not feature in the Championship One next season, an RFL spokesperson revealed today.
The Rebels were set to become one of the four teams involved in the sport's expansion plan, but they admitted that the prospect of starting a club up from scratch, for a semi-professional environment would be unviable.
“It had become increasingly clear in recent weeks that Northampton were not where they needed or wanted to be,” said RFL Operations Officer Ralph Rimmer.
“We have been working closely with Northampton Rebels over the last few months but the club expressed concerns about their ability to prepare for their entry into Championship One.
“Whilst it is clearly a very disappointing development, our decision provides verification that the rigorous checks we have in place are working and that there is a quality threshold being applied.
“It was never going to be an easy process for a new club to gear up to meet the challenges of a semi-professional competition and we have always had contingencies in place for an eventuality such as this."
The RFL are poised to announce the other two sides set to join Hemel Stags and the University of Gloucestershire All Golds in due cause, with Coventry Bears being nailed on as a favourite, although the governing body may be forced to abandon their initial plans to expand the division by four.
“Although the journey proved to be too difficult for Northampton Rebels, we always had highly credible alternatives in reserve: we will make the right decisions for the competition and exciting announcements lie ahead in the near future," added Rimmer.