Brasil is preparing to turn the Rugby League World Cup on its head in more ways than one, after securing a major sponsorship with a leading English football club.
London City Lionesses, a club in the FA Women’s Championship, will help Brasil’s Amazonas roar in their history-making debut at the game’s showpiece.
The groundbreaking sponsorship will see the Lionesses’ logo appear on the front of Brasil’s kit, and raise the profile of both teams, which boast synergies championing female participation in sport.
“Football is synonymous with Brasil, and nearly all of our players and administrators have a dual love of rugby league and football,” Amazonas General Manager Robert Burgin said.
“We greatly admire what the London City Lionesses stand for, and when we discovered their interested in a partnership, we knew there was meaningful common ground there.
“Our aim is to constantly defy expectations. We’ve achieved that with our rapid development and expanding domestic competition, and now this cross-code sponsorship.
“Not only would I like to thank Lionesses Chairwoman Diane Culligan and General Manager Edward Gallagher for their faith and vision in supporting the first Latin American team to qualify for a Rugby League World Cup, but also the tournament directors for being open to this innovation.”
The Lionesses finished mid-table in the FA Women’s Championship this past season, drawing 2-2 with Liverpool in their most recent fixture.
They are the only independent outfit in the league without an affiliated male team, rising to the challenge of growing a reputation as a stand-alone women’s entity.
This year’s results saw the Lionesses finish above famous football names such as Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic and Blackburn Rovers.
“When we heard Brasil had qualified for the Rugby League World Cup it pricked our ears, because our charter is all about breaking new ground for female athletes and community development,” Chairwoman Culligan said.
“Sponsoring a rugby league team is a little out-of-the-box, but that’s a mindset we aren’t afraid of adopting.
“It’s a competitive market, establishing an identity for a female-only team in the professional sports environment.
“In partnering with Brasil, we aim to draw the eyes of the world upon us, not only from those Brits who watch the Amazonas’ matches on the BBC, but also the 210 million-plus residents of Brasil.”
The partnership sets up an intriguing opening game to the Women’s Rugby League World Cup, where Brasil will wear the logo of the London City team in a highly-anticipated showdown with hosts England at Leeds Headingley Stadium.
Prior to that tantalising match-up, the Amazonas squad will be guests of the Lionesses for a tour of London and some fun cross-code challenges.
The vast majority of the Amazonas squad have not travelled to the United Kingdom previously.