Hemel Hempstead Stags will play in Championship 1 next year, with Northampton and two other sides from new areas. Bristol and Medway are favourites.
The Rugby Football League's chief operating officer, Ralph Rimmer, said: "This is an exciting day for rugby league."
Hemel have produced a number of professional players, including two current London Broncos, Dan Sarginson and Kieran Dixon.
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