The International Cricket Council has approved the creation of a league-style Test Championship and redrawn the lines of one-day cricket as part of an extensive restructuring of the international game that also includes a reduced 50-over World Cup and an enlarged World Twenty20 event.
The proposals - laid out by the ICC's chief executive committee last month - were approved by the board at its meeting in Dubai.
The Future Tours Programme will now comprise a Test league running over four years with the top four teams at the end of each period qualifying for a play-off event.
The first play-off is scheduled for 2013, the same year England are due to host the Ashes, and Lord's is the favoured venue for the final.
A one-day cricket league - mirroring the existing team rankings - will also be part of the FTP, starting in April 2011 and running over four years to culminate in the crowning of the first ODI league champion in April 2014.
The league will run separately from the World Cup, the ICC's flagship event, which has been reduced to 10 teams for the 2015 tournament.
The World Twenty20 event will be expanded to 16 teams from the 2012 tournament, due to be staged in Sri Lanka.