The RFU council has scrapped relegation from the Premiership this season.
After a vote passed on Friday with a “strong majority”, the league will expand to 13 teams next term, with one side promoted from the Championship.
There will then be engagement with the league’s broadcaster, BT Sport, along with clubs, sponsors, players and fans on what happens for future seasons.
Concerns had been raised by BT Sport that the jeopardy of relegation added to the excitement of the season.
But those worries are understood to have been allayed by the assurance that putting a hold on relegation would apply only to this season.
The Covid-19 crisis has brought severe financial challenges to the clubs, while a points-based system has been used for deciding five matches that have been cancelled this season because of coronavirus outbreaks, which some argue makes relegating a club unfair.
Relegation from the Championship to National One has also been scrapped for this campaign, although the Championship season does not get under way until 6 March.
It means there will be 11 teams in the second tier of English rugby union in 2021-22.
It has also been agreed that from Monday, Covid-19 testing will go back to once a week in the Premiership and Championship.
The Professional Game Board (PGB), which agreed to reduce it from twice weekly testing, said it followed a decrease in coronavirus cases in England and a reduction in the number of positive tests in the professional game.
It said the decision had been supported by the RFU, Premiership Rugby and the RPA.
“We began twice-weekly testing in January in response to the growing number of cases emerging across the country,” Chris Booy, chair of the PGB, said.
“We have now seen a reduction in positive cases and excellent co-operation from players and support staff complying with the stringent protocols we have put into place to minimise risk in the training and playing environments.
“The testing system will continue to be closely monitored and any changes will be made with the support of scientific advice.”