The British League has announced a new divisional structure for the 2016/17 season.

Currently, a linear league structure sees the Premier Division at the top, with three leagues in Division One, followed by three in each of Divisions Two, Three and Four and one in Division Five.

But from next season, this will be replaced by a pyramid system which will see the creation of a Championship Division immediately below the Premier.

Below that will be two leagues at Division One level, four at Division Two and eight at Division Three.

This puts in place a uniform structure similar to those on the continent and makes promotion and relegation easier to understand, while also addressing a variance of standards in the current Division One to provide more competitive matches for all.

It also allows for regionalised growth of the league and reduces travel distances and accommodation costs for Division Two and below. New teams can also potentially progress more quickly to the top of the pyramid.

No teams will be disadvantaged as a result of the restructuring, with relegations and promotions still applying at the end of this season.

The top six teams in the Premier Division this season will qualify for next season’s top flight, with the remaining two places to be decided – for this season only – by a play-off system.

Click here to read details of how the play-offs will work, plus how teams will be allocated to the remaining divisions

British League Chairman Chris Dangerfield said: “This re-structuring is another important step forward for the league.

“This latest change will give us a structure that will aid in growth of participation, plus provide an easy to understand pathway for players who strive to be a professional table tennis player.

“A lot of work has gone into this and other initiatives that will be announced in due course and I pay tribute to all the volunteers that have been given their time to help make this change happen.

“We are also very grateful to the Table Tennis England board for their continued support of our vision.

“In the long term, this change will support other initiatives that will over time transform the British League.”