South Africa's days in Super Rugby are over with plans to move their four teams into Europe's PRO14 competition.
The South African Rugby Union has voted in favour of withdrawing the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions in a Special General meeting.
More favourable time zones with South Africa, the lucrative European TV market and a easier travel route led to the decision.
The teams will replace the Cheetahs and Southern Kings who have played in the PRO14 since 2017.
"Our members are excited about the prospect of closer alignment with the PRO Rugby Championship and seeking a northern hemisphere future, but we would not have been taking this decision but for actions elsewhere," said SA Rugby union chief executive Jourie Roux.
New Zealand Rugby's push for a Trans-Tasman based competition with the inclusion of a Pacific Island side also had an influence, Roux said in the statement released by SA Rugby.
He said the ability to organise a 14-team Super Rugby competition had become unfeasable for South African sides.
SA Rugby will now negotiate with PRO14 organisers on how to move forward with their inclusion in the competition.
"These are extraordinary times, if this had been an ordinary year, we would not have had this meeting," he said.
"But we needed to take radical steps to avoid financial meltdown because of the Covid-19 crisis."