Betfred has extended its sponsorship of rugby league's iconic Challenge Cup competition for the next two years, covering the men's, women's and wheelchair events through to the end of the 2023 season. The RFL has also announced that the 2022 final will be played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in what will be the sport's first ever visit to Spurs' new stadium.
The 2022 final will be held on Saturday 28 May, marking the 125th anniversary of the event's first-ever final back in 1897, in the first May final since St Helens beat Wigan Warriors at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in 2004.
It will be a delayed bow for rugby league at the 62,850-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with the Test match due to be played there as part of the 2020 Ashes Series between England and Australia have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement announcing the news, Ralph Rimmer, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “It’s fantastic news for the sport to be able to confirm Betfred as title partners for the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair Challenge Cups for two more years – and to take our traditional showpiece to a magnificent new venue at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2022 before we return to Wembley in 2023.
“We were thrilled when Betfred extended their significant involvement in Rugby League to include the Challenge Cups in 2021. It came at a time of considerable uncertainty for all sport and has been crucial in allowing us to enjoy three memorable Betfred Challenge Cup campaigns, with all they mean to Rugby League communities - with St Helens victorious both in the Women’s competition in June and again at Wembley last month when they beat Castleford in a compelling final and a superb occasion.
“We still have the first Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup to look forward to this weekend, and now we know that Fred and his team will continue to elevate our Challenge Cups, to celebrate their great history and the sport of Rugby League.
“We have an excellent partnership with Wembley which has been invaluable as we have worked together through the pandemic to stage the last two Finals in October and July.
“For 2022 we were unable to find a space in the schedule that worked for both the RFL’s and BBC’s desire to play the Final earlier in the year. We are sure that Rugby League supporters and players will be excited by the prospect of experiencing the Betfred Challenge Cup Final at a new venue in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2022, with a return to the event’s spiritual home at Wembley in 2023.
“At this stage, we are planning for Community clubs to return to the early rounds of the Men’s competition, which was not possible in 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. That will restore a dimension of the competition which we really missed this year, and I know Betfred are relishing that prospect, as well as the Finals at Tottenham and Wembley.”
Fred Done, the founder and owner of Betfred, added: “Following on from this year’s terrific final I am delighted to be extending our Challenge Cup sponsorship for a further two years. We’re excited about having the 2022 Final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before returning to Wembley in 2023 – and I’m especially pleased that we’re again including the Women’s and Wheelchair competitions in our unique sponsorship, and that the Community clubs and teams from all around the country will hopefully be back in the Challenge Cup in 2022.”
And Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said: “We are delighted to bring yet another major sporting event to our stadium. The Challenge Cup Final is a game that is steeped in history and we are proud to now be a part of that, while further establishing our stadium as a leading sports and entertainment destination in London.”
The Betfred Challenge Cup Final will return to its usual home at Wembley Stadium in 2023 for the 80th hosting at the two national stadiums on the north-west London site. The cup final was first played at the old Wembley back in 1929.
Betfred Challenge Cup Final tickets for 2022 are now on sale at eticketing.co.uk/rugbyleague and fans can take advantage of an Early Bird offer of £5 off every ticket, with prices starting from only £25 Adults and £10 Under 16s.