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The Betfred Challenge Cup will have a new structure in 2025, with the 12 Super League clubs joining the Road to Wembley at the Third Round stage.

The Third Round draw will be held in January, well before the start of the Super League season, with the aim of building more momentum towards the showpiece Finals Day in June.

It means that clubs from the Betfred Championship, League One and even the community game will have more chance to secure a glamour tie at home to Super League opposition, as the Third Round draw will be seeded to guarantee each of the Super League clubs travel away to one of the 20 Second Round winners.

The Fourth Round (comprising 16 clubs) will be played in March, the Quarter Finals in April and the Semi Finals on the weekend of May 10-11, leaving the winners with four weeks to prepare for the 2025 Betfred Challenge Cup Final - which has already been confirmed to return to Wembley Stadium on Saturday June 7.

The clubs were informed of the new structure – and also a revised prize money structure - at a Rugby League Commercial forum today, and there will now be further discussions over standardised ticket pricing across all Betfred Challenge Cup ties.

The Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final will again be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday June 7 as part of Finals Day, with the Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup Final confirmed for the weekend of May 31 – with discussions ongoing over the best structure for those competitions in 2025.

Rhodri Jones, the Managing Director of RL Commercial, said:

“After extensive consultation with clubs and other stakeholders, we believe this new structure for the Betfred Challenge Cup will deliver a number of benefits to the competition and to the sport as a whole.

“It was pleasing to announce an attendance of 64,845 for Finals Day at Wembley this month, the fourth consecutive year of growth since the 2020 Final was played behind closed doors.

“But we recognised a need to reshape and reinvigorate the early rounds of the competition – which we believe will allow us to maintain that trend at Wembley next June.

“The 2025 Betfred Challenge Cup will again start with a First Round featuring teams from the community game, but all the League One and Championship clubs will enter at the Second Round stage, knowing that victory will secure a place in the Third Round when the 12 Betfred Super League clubs enter – and will be seeded to play away from home.

“That returns the competition closer to its traditions, with top flight clubs joining in the round of 32 in the winter months – the start of the road to the Wembley Final in the spring.

“We hope that holding the draws for the Second and Third Rounds of the Betfred Challenge Cup together in January will provide a pre-season talking point for all professional clubs.”

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Tue 25th Jun 2024 6:05 PM | Views : 7358 | Replies : 16 | BACK TO STORIES