RFL reveal new Challenge Cup sponsor - and first round draw date
The draw for the first and second rounds of the newly-named Betfred Challenge Cup will be made next Thursday (February 11).
Batley Bulldogs, Dewsbury Rams and Featherstone Rovers will all go into a hat, along with the other English Betfred Championship clubs, plus three teams from League One.
Hunslet were among the third tier clubs who decided not to enter.
The first round will be played on March 19-21, with round two being staged the following weekend.
The 12 Super League clubs enter at the third round stage on the weekend of April 9-11.
The quarter-finals are scheduled for May 8-9, the semi-finals double-header will be on June 5 and the final is set for Wembley on Saturday, July 17.
Betfred have agreed a one-year deal to become the Challenge Cup’s title partners, alongside their sponsorship of all three professional divisions.
The deal also includes the Women’s Challenge Cup and they will become the first sponsors of the Wheelchair Rugby League Challenge Cup.
All three trophies are currently held by Leeds Rhinos.
RFL chief executive Ralph 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.
“I’m especially pleased they will become the first title partners for the Wheelchair Challenge Cup.
“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 One.
“We are convinced sport will play a key role in the regional and national recovery from Covid through 2021 and determined rugby league and the three Betfred Challenge Cups will be a big part of that story.”
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 and wheelchair Challenge Cups in what is such an important year for the whole sport.”