Catalans to defend Challenge Cup after resolving RFL dispute

Catalans Dragons will defend the Challenge Cup in 2019 after reaching an agreement with the Rugby Football League (RFL) over their participation in the event.

In a statement earlier this month, the first non-English club to win the Challenge Cup revealed they had been asked to provide a £500,000 deposit to enter this year's competition.

The RFL's request for a deposit came after they suffered a budget shortfall due to a lower-than-expected attendance in the 2018 final, but Catalans said it would be "irresponsible" to pay such an amount.

However, the matter has now been resolved, with both Catalans and the RFL confirming on Monday that the club will defend their trophy.

A statement from the governing body read: "The RFL confirmed that the 2018 Wembley winners Catalans Dragons will defend the Coral Challenge Cup, after reaching an agreement with the French club to end recent uncertainty about their participation.

"They will enter the competition at the sixth-round stage in May, having finished in the top eight of the Super League in 2018."

Catalans chairman Bernard Guasch added: "I'm really happy to announce that we will participate in this prestigious competition in 2019.

"After weeks of open and honest discussions with [RFL chief executive] Ralph Rimmer, we have indeed reached a compromise with the RFL."

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