The Betfred Challenge Cup will have a new structure in 2025, with the 12 Super League clubs joining at the third round stage, with the aim of building more momentum towards the showpiece Finals Day at Wembley in June.

That is magnificent news for the likes of Bradford Bulls, Keighley Cougars and all clubs outside of the top-flight, with the chance of a glamour home tie in the competition against elite sides like Wigan and St Helens now having increased significantly.

That is because the third Round draw will be seeded, guaranteeing that each of the Super League clubs will 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.

That will leave 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 earlier 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: “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.

“They know 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.”