One of South Africa's existing Super Rugby teams face the axe after the Southern Kings secured a place in the tournament from 2013.
The inclusion of Kings, who hail from Eastern Cape - the hotbed of black rugby, has left the Stormers, Sharks, Bulls, Cheetahs and Lions facing an uncertain future.
One of the five teams will be out of the lucrative tournament unless the South African ruling body SARU can convince Sanzar (South Africa-New Zealand-Australia rugby) to allow a sixth South African team to play in the competition.
The Southern Kings' inclusion in the competition has been backed by politicians and those unhappy with the pace of transformation in South African rugby.
None of their constituent teams - Eastern Province, South-Western Districts and Border - play in the premier division of South Africa's domestic Currie Cup competition.
Eastern Province were beaten 43-12 by Boland in last year's First Division final.