Betfred’s expanded role in Rugby League

Upfront: The League Express opinion – Mon 8th Feb 2021

Last week the RFL announced that Betfred will sponsor the Challenge Cup this year.

The betting company has signed a one-year contract to become title sponsors of the Challenge Cup to add to their long-running partnership with the Super League.

The competition will now be called the Betfred Challenge Cup. The winners will be crowned at Wembley in July, hopefully in front of a big crowd, with the Betfred Super League trophy to be presented at Old Trafford in October.

The deal also includes sponsorship of the Women’s Challenge Cup, completing another double with the Betfred Women’s Super League.

And Betfred will also become the first title partners of the Wheelchair Rugby League Challenge Cup.

As you will see above, the three trophies set alongside each other with Betfred livery make a compelling photograph and it’s the first time in the history of the game that a photograph like that could have been taken.

As it happens, all three Challenge Cups are currently held by Leeds Rhinos, who beat Salford Red Devils at Wembley last October to follow the success of their Women’s and Wheelchair teams in 2019.

The draw for the first and second rounds of this year’s men’s competition will be held this Thursday (February 11), while the RFL will reveal more details of the Betfred Women’s and Wheelchair Challenge Cups soon.

As RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer said: “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.

“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.”

The RFL hasn’t revealed the details of the agreement with Betfred, but it’s good to see the company’s commitment to Rugby League since it came on board as Super League’s title sponsor.

The only negative thing in connection with this is the news that the government is going to review the Gambling Act 2005 and in particular the interaction of betting companies and sport.

There has been a suggestion that logos may be banned on shirts and it would be a disaster for Rugby League if that were to impact negatively on Betfred’s sponsorship of the game.

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