Challenge Cup and 1895 Cup set for radical format change

The future of the Challenge Cup has been questioned in recent times with the defence of Leigh Leopards’ defence of their crown won against Hull KR set to take on a new form compared to those of the past.

It has been suggested that the Challenge Cup could become a lot like the Champions League with a group stage and knockout stages like we see in World Cups and other tournaments.

Reports claim that we will see qualifying rounds involving lower league clubs to join Super League clubs in the group stages.

There is set to be 24 teams in the group stages with three groups of eight with every team having one home and one away fixture to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

From there, the rest of the tournament will proceed as usual with quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final which will again be held at Wembley. But what about the 1895 Cup?

This is the knockout tournament for Championship clubs with the top Championship clubs who get to the latter stages of the Challenge Cup given an alternate route to cup glory.

Once knock outed of the Challenge Cup, the Championship clubs enter the semi-finals of the 1895 Cup hoping to secure their place in the final.

However, Serious About Rugby League can confirm that there are plans to expand the competition in 2024 which will include League One clubs moving forward.

This is to provide more big fixtures for League One clubs with their futures uncertain with London Skolars and potentially Newcastle Thunder potentially dropping out of the Betfred League One.

This way they can enjoy big games for League One clubs up against the big Championship clubs especially at home which will help them financially.

It will also give clubs a big opportunity to reach a major final themselves and help their IMG gradings with success in this competition. This is especially for those ambitious club such as Oldham who have shown their ambition with some major signings from Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, St Helens and others as well as appointing Sean Long as Head Coach after his exit from Wakefield Trinity.