Automatic promotion to the Premiership will be introduced in 2018 after the Rugby Football Union decided to scrap the Championship play-offs.
The winners of England’s second-tier competition will be promoted if they satisfy ‘minimum standard criteria’ to play in the top-flight.
Promotion this term will again be decided via the four-team play-offs.
Championship clubs also get a funding boost as part of the new agreement between the RFU and Premiership Rugby.
Bristol won promotion via the play-offs last season, having topped the table in four of the five campaigns from 2011 to 2016.
But not all clubs to reach the play-off have been eligible to go up, with Bedford openly stating they do not want to move into the Premiership, while Cornish Pirates do not have a suitable home ground.
The financial boost for clubs in England’s second tier, and only other professional level of rugby, comes after London Welsh went out of business and were expunged from the league.
The multi-million pound deal’s exact figure has not been disclosed, but distribution will be based on final league positions “to ensure competition among clubs throughout the entirety of the season”.
More to follow.