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Revealed: the expansion clubs in the running to join British rugby league structure

Rugby league: League One contenders

There is one spot left in the top three tiers of British rugby league for 2025. The RFL have now revealed the three formal applications to join the Betfred League One competition from next season.

Anglian Vipers, Bedford Tigers and Goole Vikings are the three teams those in charge will choose from, with applications invited earlier this year following the decision regarding a restructure of the divisions below the Super League.

The restructure was done with a view to creating two divisions of 12 by the 2026 season. After receiving 11 initial expressions of interest, the RFL set a deadline of June 28 for formal applications.

This deadline has, of course, passed, and it therefore seems the other eight sides did not get one in in time.

The three applications will now be considered, with visits to the applicants to assess their home stadia and other facilities, which will be followed by formal presentations at Rugby League’s Etihad Campus headquarters in August – and a decision expected by the end of September.

The RFL have confirmed that existing League One clubs were updated on the process today.

Rugby league: The clubs in the running to join League One

One team is Anglian Vipers, who are based in Wymondham, Norfolk, and play in the East Rugby League.

Their inclusion would mean yet another League One outside of the traditional heartlands, alongside Midlands Hurricanes (formerly Coventry Bears), North Wales Crusaders, Cornwall RLFC and Newcastle Thunder, who currently play in Gateshead.

Another from a potential new market are Bedford Tigers, who play in the Southern Conference League, and also field a second team in the East Rugby League.

They competed in the Challenge Cup for the first time in 2019.

Finally, there’s Goole Vikings, who play in the Yorkshire Men’s League, and are situated halfway between Castleford and Hull.

Although the current side was formed in 2018, the sport has plenty of history in the town, including one of the game’s biggest early ‘cupsets’ in 1893, when they defeated Leeds.

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