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One the UK's biggest universities with a long-standing reputation in sport, Leeds Metropolitan University, is to sponsor the 2005 Rugby League World Club Challenge between reigning Super League Champions Leeds Rhinos and Australian NRL Premiers Canterbury Bulldogs.
This is the first time an educational organisation has supported a major Rugby League event in this way.
The World Club Challenge match is being staged at Elland Road Stadium, Leeds on 4th February 2005 and the agreement means the match will be officially known as the 'Carnegie World Club Challenge'. Carnegie is the name of Leeds Met's Faculty of Sport & Education. Carnegie College, now part of Leeds Met, was founded in 1933 in Headingley and has always had a close relationship to rugby league in Leeds.
Commenting on the agreement, The Rugby Football League's Commercial Director Paul Kimberley said: "This is the first time that the sport of Rugby League has entered into this type of sponsorship agreement with a university and we believe the partnership is highly appropriate and will prove to be a tremendous success.
Kimberley added: "Since its re-introduction in 2000, the Rugby League World Club Challenge has developed into a tremendous international sporting occasion which attracts a global audience.
"The 2005 World Club Challenge is set to build on this further and we are looking forward to working with Leeds Met Carnegie to maximise and stage an event which has the potential to be the most successful of its kind to date".
The Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, Professor Simon Lee, said, "Seven Leeds Rhinos are students of ours as was Lewis Jones, the Leeds star of 50 years ago.
"One of our first Carnegie students in the 1930s was the great Eric Harris, an Australian who played with distinction for Leeds. So rugby league is part of our Carnegie tradition and we are honoured to support this coming together of the British and Australian champions.
"The Carnegie World Club Challenge has an important role to play in raising worldwide awareness of rugby league.
"We have students from 120 different countries and we would like the whole world to appreciate this great team sport.
"Closer to home, many MPs have supported an Early Day Motion in Parliament praising the example which the Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Met Carnegie students set for the wider community as champions of sport and of learning.'