POOLE Pirates will be part of a 12-team SGB Championship in 2020 after Newcastle's participation was confirmed.

Pirates are dropping down into the second tier for the first time since 1990, but the inclusion of the north-east outfit had been under question.

However, following a takeover by new owner and former rider Rob Grant Junior, the Diamonds will keep their Championship spot.

Grant said: “From my outlook it seemed the future for the Diamonds was looking really bleak, so it didn't take long for me to think it through and make a move to take the reins myself.

“Negotiations went as smooth as you like, so now I cannot wait to get on to action all the plans I have for our 2020 Championship campaign.

“I've done my sums, and when I say I've come in to take up the mantle for the 91st anniversary, it's my full intention to be planning in nine years’ time for the club's 100th anniversary!

“I'm not in this for the short haul and I'm determined to make this thrive. I have some fine contacts in the local commerce world and will be talking speedway to many of them with the sole view of making the Diamonds secure for the long-term future.”

Newcastle will be part of the six-team North half of the Championship alongside Redcar, Berwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scunthorpe.

The South section is made up of Poole, Birmingham, Leicester, Somerset, Eastbourne and Kent.

Southern sides will face each other twice home and twice away during the regular season and, to minimise travel, will only face the northern sides once at home and once away.

The draw for early stages of the 2020 Championship KO Cup have also been made with Poole hosting Edinburgh in round one.

The winners of that clash will travel to either holders Redcar or Birmingham in the quarter-finals, while Berwick make the trip to Leicester and Somerset face Glasgow.

Scunthorpe, Kent, Eastbourne and Newcastle have all received byes.