Betfred has been appointed as the 2021 Challenge Cup, Women’s Challenge Cup and Wheelchair Rugby League Challenge Cup title sponsor, building on its long-running Super League relationship.
The draw will take place next Thursday for the first and second rounds, while the quarter finals are scheduled for the weekend of 8-9 May. The semi-finals are scheduled for 5 June, leading to the final on 17 July at Wembley.
Rugby League’s oldest knockout competition
The RFL Chief Executive, Ralph Rimmer, 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.”
The England Rugby League appointed Betfred earlier in December as an official partner of the English men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup (RLWC).
Role in regional and national recovery
Rimmer also 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.”
On the weekend of 21 March, the reigning champions of all three competitions, Leeds Rhinos, will start defending the title when the Challenge Cup begins with eight ties involving the Betfred Championship and League 1. On the weekend of 11 April, the 12 Betfred Super League clubs reach the third round round.
In a dramatic showdown at Wembley in October last year, the Rhinos triumphed over the Salford Red Devils, narrowly edging the Super League rivals 17-16.
Betfred Boss, Fred Done said: “I am delighted to be able to announce further support for the sport of Rugby League in what are incredibly difficult times.
“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.”