Bingo - women's and girls' rugby league hits the jackpot after National Lottery sign up as major sponsor

The National Lottery is to become an official partner of the Rugby Football League and the women’s and girls’ branch of the sport.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 3:15 pm
Women's Super League has been on hold since Leeds Rhinos' title in in 2019, but will return next month. Picture by Isabel Pearce/
Women's Super League has been on hold since Leeds Rhinos' title in in 2019, but will return next month. Picture by Isabel Pearce/

The lottery will be the title sponsor for England Women’s mid-season World Cup warm-up against Wales at Warrington on June 25.

The partnership will see the National Lottery’s support recognised through a range of branding across top men’s and women’s fixtures and match tickets will be made available to lottery players.

Money for the sponsorship will come from a National Lottery promotional fund and is not being funded by cash allocated for National Lottery Good Causes or by operator Camelot.

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The number of females playing rugby league has risen by 53 per cent since Women’s Super league began in 2017, but last year’s competition was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “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 [go] to The National Lottery who share our vision and understand that rugby league changes the lives of the girls and women involved.”

The partnership has been backed by sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.

He said: "We’ve been clear 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.”

Nigel Railton, chief executive of National Lottery operator Camelo, added: “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 National Lottery players are able to support rugby league after a difficult year.”

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