The RFU Council tonight approved by an overwhelming majority the creation of a 12-team Championship division for the 2009/10 season.

The Council backed recommendations from the RFU Management Board for the Championship to form a new professional tier below the Guinness Premiership, voting against an amendment deferring its formation until 2010/11.

Further discussions will take place about a meaningful fixture list that will guarantee a minimum of 32 games for First Division Rugby clubs each season consisting of league games and other competitive matches.

The Council also approved 12 of 13 recommendations from the Rugby Landscape Task Group that will make other significant changes to the structure of the game in England.