The Zambia Rugby Union has decided to merge its two tier league structure into one competition.

ZRU reached the bold decision to revert to the original structure during an emergency general meeting held on April 1 in Ndola.

Union general secretary Colonel Francis Chitambo said the new league will be spread over a 24-month period that will be punctuated by cup competitions.

This is to ease the logistical problems a majority of the cash-strapped ZRU league clubs have endured over the years.

“All the fourteen teams will play against each other just once to avoid the fixtures spilling into next year. The return fixtures would be played next year. To strike a balance in the movement of the teams, those that would host their home games once this year, would fulfil the return fixtures next year and vice-versa,” Chitambo said.

“To ensure the league remains competitive and attractive, after Week 14 matches, the top four teams will qualify to play in the main cup, while fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth would play in the plate Cup. The other four teams from nine to 12 positions will square off in the bowl category, while the remaining four will battle for the shield. The league is earmarked to end on 07 October 2017.”

Arrows are the defending champions and they kickoff their title defence on April 8 against Mufulira B.

Promoted Mufulira is the only team to field two teams in the new one tier structure after their Week 1 guests Arrows decide to field just one team for the long season.