Speedway: Promotion and relegation introduced to revamped competition

Speedway
Wolverhampton beat Belle Vue in the Elite League Grand Final

Promotion and relegation has been introduced to British speedway's top two divisions in a revamp of the sport.

The bottom side in the Premiership will race the Championship play-off champions in an end-of-season race, to decide who rides in the following season's top tier.

The divisions will no longer be known as the Elite League and Premier League.

Somerset, Rye House, Leicester and Belle Vue are among the sides to race in the 2017 top flight.

Coventry, King's Lynn, Poole, Swindon and reigning champions Wolverhampton will make up the rest of the top tier.

British Speedway Promoters Association (BSPA) chairman Buster Chapman told BBC Radio Norfolk: "We were going stale, we weren't moving forward.

"Everyone has decided we need to bring some drastic changes and bring some life back into it.

"This next three, four or five years are all about the future of speedway in England."

Aces dilemma

National Speedway Stadium
Belle Vue Aces finished top of the Elite League table in 2016 before the play-offs

Despite confirmation that Belle Vue Aces will race in the top tier next season, BSPA announced they have had their speedway promotion licence and their licence to race at the National Speedway Stadium revoked because of their financial situation.

The Manchester club moved to their new home at the start of the 2016 season but they had to cancel their opening meeting because of safety concerns.

They first raced there 54 days after the venue was due to open.

Manchester City Council said the Aces had paid no rent costs towards the £8m facility since they moved in and Eastlands Trust would run the stadium in the short term.

"It has come to light that the group companies have significant debt, not only with the council but also other parties," said Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council, in a statement.

"The BSPA and the city council have been in regular dialogue over the situation and both parties remain absolutely committed to speedway in Manchester, but this must be a long-term and sustainable solution for the club to ensure that Belle Vue Aces continue as the city's speedway team."