Bookmaker Coral is to become the title sponsor of the Challenge Cup in a two-year deal for a seven-figure sum.
They will sponsor both the men’s and women’s competitions, with the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup final taking place as part of a triple header with the men’s semi-finals at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday July 27.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that an agreement has been reached to ensure holders Catalans Dragons will participate in the competition, after recent uncertainty caused by the demand for a bond for their entry.
RFL chief executive, Ralph Rimmer, said: “This is a really significant day both for the Challenge Cup, and for women’s Rugby League.
“The men’s Challenge Cup is one of the iconic competitions and trophies of British sport, with more than 120 years of history, and the famous Wembley final televised live to the nation and the world by the BBC.
“The Women’s Challenge Cup may not have that history, but Coral’s enthusiasm for it to be part of a joint sponsorship deal confirms our determination that it is set for a really exciting future.
“With Coral’s name now linked to both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cups, it’s equally exciting to be able to extend the double header for the men’s semi finals that proved such a big hit last year, and now incorporate the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final.
“The University of Bolton Stadium proved a popular venue for the sold-out double header last summer, so we’re delighted to be going back for a triple header in 2019.
“We are confident that thousands of the supporters of the teams who reach the semi finals of the men’s Coral Challenge Cup will also take the opportunity to watch the outstanding spectacle provided by our best women’s teams – and that will ensure their skills and athleticism are seen by the record audience they deserve.”
The Coral Challenge Cup gets underway this weekend with the first round draw, which includes newcomers Red Star Belgrade.
Coral Challenge Cup, 2019
First Round Jan 26-27, Second Round Feb 9-10, Third Round March 9-10, Fourth Round March 30-31, Fifth Round April 13-14, Sixth Round May 11-12.
Quarter Finals June 1-2.
Semi Finals – Saturday July 27, University of Bolton Stadium (triple header, also including Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final)
Final – Saturday August 24, Wembley Stadium, 230pm.