Betfred cup competitions can help country bounce back from Covid says RFL’s Ralph Rimmer

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer is “determined” that rugby league and the three Betfred Challenge Cups will play a big part in helping the country bounce back from Covid-19.

Confident: RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Betfred yesterday took over from Coral as the sponsors of the sport’s oldest knockout competition after agreeing a one-year deal.

It is a significant boost for the governing body who were hit hard last year with England’s three-Test series against Australia and Magic Weekend both being cancelled due to the pandemic.

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Betfred have continued their long commitment to the game –they have been sponsors of Super League since 2017 – and the deal also includes sponsorship of the Women’s Challenge Cup, completing another double with the Betfred Women’s Super League.

Moreover, as well as sponsoring the Championship and League 1, they will become the first title partners of the Wheelchair Rugby League Challenge Cup in 2021.

Rimmer said: “We are excited to announce an extension of Rugby League’s partnership with Betfred to include the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair Challenge Cups in 2021.

“Even in the challenging circumstances of 2020, we were reminded of the Challenge Cup’s 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.

“The Women’s and Wheelchair competitions are more recent additions to the Rugby League landscape but already they have a history of memorable moments, and after the frustrations of 2020 I know all our players and clubs will be relishing the prospect of returning in 2021.”

Rimmer continued: “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.

“I’m especially pleased that they will also become the first title partners for the Wheelchair Challenge Cup, and at the RFL we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with them to increase the profile of all three of our Challenge Cups – building on their support for the Women’s Super League and also Betfred Championship and League 1. This follows the recent confirmation of an enhanced three-year extension of the BBC’s long-term relationship with the Challenge Cup which also includes coverage of the Women’s and Wheelchair competitions.

“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.”

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