A new six-team top tier of Scottish domestic rugby has been confirmed.
The Scottish Rugby Union announced a £3.6million investment over five years to introduce a semi-professional Super Six league with a 20-match season.
The new structure – which will be introduced for the 2019-20 season – will have a 12-team Scottish Championship below it with three National League divisions underneath that.
The Super Six will contain at least one team each from the north, east, west and Borders of Scotland with franchises running for five years.
Central funding will be available for head coaches, strength and conditioning and analysis support with costs for 35-man squads split between the SRU and clubs.
Scottish Rugby revealed at its annual general meeting that the National Leagues would be “feeder clubs” for Super Six teams.
The current structure has a 10-team Premiership with three divisions of 12 below.
SR chief executive Mark Dodson said: “For the first time since the game went professional this strategy involves all the clubs in the success of our national team.
“We want to create strong sustainable clubs that can play at the level which best suits them and that they can now choose.
“We wanted to create clear pathways for players, coaches and officials, alongside closing the gap between our domestic game and the professional teams so we can maximise the resources we have and allow talented players to develop in good environments and fulfil their potential.
“We want to see clubs invest in their infrastructures and future growth so the National Leagues will have amateur status and the Super Six will be where player payments make better sense.
“This is not a radical plan, it is simply overdue and we look forward to working with all the clubs in Scotland to deliver this new structure for the wider benefit of the game at large.”