The Rugby Football League have received three formal applications to join Betfred League 1 in 2025 – from Anglian Vipers, Bedford Tigers and Goole Vikings. 

They could be joining the likes of Keighley Cougars in the third tier next season, though Matt Foster's side have designs on immediate promotion back to the Championship.

The interest of the aforementioned trio is most welcome news, with League 1 only containing nine teams this season following the recent sad demise of both West Wales Raiders and London Skolars.

Applications for League 1 had been invited earlier this year following the decision regarding a restructure of the divisions below the Betfred Super League, 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. 

The three successful applications will now be considered, with visits to the applicants to assess their home stadia and other facilities.

That will be followed by formal presentations at Rugby League’s Etihad Campus headquarters in August – and a decision is expected by the end of September. 

The existing Betfred League 1 clubs, including Cougars, were updated on the process yesterday. 

Anglian Vipers are based in Wymondham, Norfolk, and play in the East Rugby League. 

Bedford Tigers play in the Southern Conference League, and also field a Men’s team in the East Rugby League. 

Goole Vikings play in the Yorkshire Men’s League.