YORK City Knights still need to finish top of Betfred League One to be assured of automatic promotion to the Championship, it has been confirmed.

The announcement comes after a restructuring of professional rugby league was voted through at an extraordinary general meeting of clubs in Manchester today.

It was thought that a knock-on effect of the restructure would see three clubs promoted from League One - the top two plus a third club through the play-offs - with the bottom team in the Championship going down. The Knights, currently two points above Bradford Bulls at the summit, are guaranteed to finish first or second, as are the Bulls.

However, it has been revealed that only the top team will go up automatically, with the winners of the four-team play-offs also promoted - as has always been the plan. No team will be automatically relegated.

A potential third promotion place has opened up, though, with the losers of the play-off final going up against the bottom team in the Championship for the last place in the higher tier. The venue for that match will be decided on the toss of a coin.

Meanwhile, The Press understands one downside of the restructure for York, regardless of promotion, is that it is likely to see a reduction in funding for Championship and League One teams, with more money being kept by Super League clubs when the next TV contract is negotiated in 2022.

Neither chairman Jon Flatman nor head coach James Ford was available to comment on the vote or the restructure, but the announcement does mean, from a playing perspective, that little has changed for this season - the Knights still need to win their last two matches to guarantee the title and the sole automatic promotion spot.

They go to minnows Hemel Stags on Sunday, and then entertain Whitehaven the following Sunday in the last match of term. Haven are one of only two teams to have beaten Ford's men this season and are among the teams scrapping for a play-off place.

York could yet win the title this weekend if they beat Hemel and Bradford lose at Oldham.

The headline news of the restructure sees the Super 8s scrapped in favour of a one-up-one-down system of relegation and promotion between Super League and the Championship from 2019. 

The Super 8s, introduced in 2015, see the top two tiers split into three groups of eight at the end of the regular season to decide promotion and relegation. It will remain in place this season, culminating in the Million Pound Game to decide the last place in the top flight next year.

With no Super 8s fixtures in future, it would mean fewer games in those two tiers.

To counter this, the 12-team Super League will see teams play each other home away, and have seven additional 'loop' fixtures, including one at the annual Magic Weekend. A five-team play-off series will then culminate in the Grand Final.

The Championship, meanwhile, will rise from 12 clubs to 14 - hence the discussions on how many teams would go up from League One this year. They will have home and away fixtures plus one at the annual Summer Bash.

League One will reduce from 14 to 12 clubs.

The Championship title - and sole promotion spot to Super League - will be decided by a five-team play-off structure.

Two teams will go down to League One, with the League One champions and play-off winners promoted.

Clubs voted in favour of the proposals by two-thirds majority.

Although it has not been confirmed, the Press believes that the Knights were among the clubs to vote against the plan - presumably at least partly because of the financial impact when it comes to central funding to lower league clubs being slashed.

Club investor Mark Campbell, who is also chairman of Featherstone Rovers and a member of the Championship and League One advisory panel, led the opposition to the new system.

Leeds Rhinos were the only Super League club to have been against it.

Campbell expressed his disappointment over the failure of the non-Super League clubs to provide a united front but called for the game to now move forward.

"I'm struggling to see why they would go with the proposal to be honest but everybody has got their own circumstances," he said.

"We've lost the vote but it's been a good process and we've done all we could to give everybody the information we thought they needed to know. It's been a fair vote and we've got to get behind it now."

Once the proposals were voted through, Championship and League One clubs had a separate meeting to decide the knock-on effects for this season - the outcome being that no team will be automatically relegated from the higher tier but that there will be the aforementioned additional play-off for the 14th and final place in that division next season.