Betfred has been named as the title sponsor to the 2021 Challenge Cup, Women’s Challenge Cup, and Wheelchair Rugby League Challenge Cup, building on its long-running association with the Super League.
The draw for the first and second rounds will be held next Thursday, whilst the quarter finals are scheduled for the weekend of 8-9 May. The semi-finals are pencilled for 5 June, leading to the final at Wembley on 17 July.
Ralph Rimmer, the RFL Chief Executive, explained: “The Challenge Cup is Rugby League’s oldest knockout competition and even in the challenging circumstances of 2020, we were reminded of its enduring appeal with a national television audience of 1.6m watching Leeds Rhinos beat Salford Red Devils in the first – and hopefully last – Final played behind closed doors.
“Betfred have already shown their commitment to Women’s Rugby League by becoming the first title partners of the Betfred Women’s Super League in 2019, a reflection of the growing prestige of that competition.”
Earlier in December, England Rugby League named Betfred as an official partner to the England’s men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup (RLWC).
Rimmer added: “We are convinced that sport will play a key role in the regional and national recovery from COVID through 2021, and determined that Rugby League and the three Betfred Challenge Cups will be a big part of that story.”
Reigning Champions of all three tournaments, Leeds Rhinos, will embark on defending the title on the weekend of 21 March when the Challenge Cup gets underway with eight ties involving Betfred Championship and League 1. The 12 Betfred Super League clubs enter at the third round stage on the weekend of 11 April.
The Rhinos triumphed over the Salford Red Devils in a dramatic showdown at Wembley last October, narrowly edging the Super League rivals 17-16.
“I am delighted to be able to announce further support for the sport of Rugby League in what are incredibly difficult times,” Betfred Boss, Fred Done, commented. “The Challenge Cup obviously has a rich heritage and I was also very keen to include both the Women’s Challenge Cup and the Wheelchair Challenge Cup in what is such an important year for the whole sport culminating with the World Cup in October/November.”