The National Lottery has agreed to become an official partner of the Rugby Football League and the Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League.
The partnership is part of the lottery’s commitment to helping sports, and specifically women’s sport, through the effects of the pandemic.
Under the agreement, the National Lottery will be acknowledged through a range of branding across the sport’s premier men’s and women’s fixtures. The lottery will also be the title partner for the England Women Rugby League Mid-Season International versus Wales on June 25.
Lottery players will have a chance to get tickets for major fixtures and the Mid-Season International, including VIP tickets. The money for these initiatives is coming from a National Lottery promotional fund and is not being funded by money allocated for National Lottery Good Causes or by Camelot UK.
Nigel Railton, CEO of Camelot UK, said: “Every day, the National Lottery and its players make a huge difference to communities across the UK – and have been doing so since 1994.
“Supporting sports has always been part of the mission of the National Lottery and this inventive partnership will undoubtedly make a difference. The loss of spectators and cancellation of events has had such an impact, so I am proud that National Lottery players are able to support Rugby League after a difficult year.”
The National Lottery has played a vital role in supporting sport across the UK during the pandemic with a variety of sports partnerships, including Wheelchair Tennis, Rugby Union Sevens and non-league football across the four nations. Over £150m of lottery funding has now been distributed to grassroots sports organisations across the country as well.
Ralph Rimmer, CEO of the Rugby Football League, stated: “The growth of girls’ and women’s Rugby League at all levels has been wonderful, which made the impact of over a year of not playing so hard for the players, coaches, volunteers and clubs.
“But we bounce back with this new commercial partnership and with the support of the National Lottery, and we look forward to kicking off our vibrant domestic competitions, followed by a mid-season International, and the excitement of a home World Cup this autumn. Our thanks to the National Lottery who share our vision and understand that Rugby League changes the lives of the girls and women involved.”
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston added: “We’ve been clear that we must continue the push for greater participation, employment, commercial opportunities and visibility in the media for women’s sport. This announcement is great news for Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League.
“As we look ahead to the start of the 2021 professional season, this funding from the National Lottery will provide the sport with certainty as we work towards getting crowds back at matches as soon as possible.”