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Do You Think Leeds is a Sporting City?

Sport in Leeds

Leeds has an incredibly rich range of facilities for sport in the city. In 1978 Leeds bid to be the host city for the 1978 Commonwealth Games. The video below was created as part of the hosting marketing campaign and shows a range of sports and sporting facilities in the city.


Leeds United Football Club was formed in 1919 and is traditionally one of the biggest clubs in UK football. The club is based at Elland Road Football Stadium and has a huge number of passionate fans.

Black and white photograph showing a team of men in white uniform, posing for an official photo
Leeds United Football Team 1965

The club has had a long line of talented players. You might have heard of some of the most famous past players including Billy Bremner, Norman Hunter, Don Revie, Albert Johanesson, Rio Ferdinand and Lucas Radebe.

See Supporting Links for a full learning story on Leeds United Football Club (Mens).



Headingley Stadium is home to Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC). The club was formed in 1863 and began to host international games in 1899.

Following a string of great results it has become one of the best clubs in the world.

Black and white image of a mens cricket team in uniform
Yorkshire County Cricket Team 1966

In 2018 the famous old ground hosted three internationals; England vs. Pakistan Test Match, England vs. New Zealand Royal London Women’s One-Day International and England vs. India One-Day International. Can you find out who won each competition?



Headingley Stadium is also home to Leeds Rugby.

Black and white photograph of men playing rugby. One man is about to score a try.
Rugby League Match, 1961

Leeds Rhinos is the city’s professional Rugby League club. The club is a member of the Super League and is the third most successful rugby league club in the UK, having won the championship nine times, as well as three World Club Challenge titles.



Leeds has a rich history of boxing.

The first recorded bare knuckle boxing fight was recorded in Leeds in the 1830s. From the 1900s there were more regular and organized boxing fights at the Jewish Athletic Club in Sheepscar.

Joey Fox

In 1915, Leeds boxer Joey Fox became the British Bantamweight Champion after defeating Jimmy Berry in the 18th round of the fight. In 1921 he became the British Featherweight Champion. Joeys professional boxing career started at the Jewish Athletic Club in Leeds in 1909 when he was 21 years old.

Black and white photograph showing a muscled man wearing a vest
Joey Fox, 1915 British Bantomweight Champion

He fought 147 times, winning 73, losing 24 and drawing 18 matches. 26 of his wins were by knocking out his opponent.

After a successful tour in America he eventually retired in 1926.  

Nicola Adams

Of course, the most famous boxer in Leeds today is Nicola Adams. You can find out more about Nicola in our Top 10 Leeds Sporting Heroes page. 


Colour photograph of a black and grey boxing glove. It has Nicola Adams' signature on the side of it written in black sharpie
Boxing Glove used by Nicola Adams


Black and white photograph showing two competitors carrying their bikes over a small bridge
National Cyclo-cross Championships, Temple Newsam, 1972

Leeds has been host to lots of world-class sports including the unforgettable 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ from the city centre.

This event was so successful that the Tour de Yorkshire was created and has taken place and passed through Leeds every year since then.

Thousands of people come to watch as cyclists from around the world compete for the race title.

In the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire

·         The women's course covered 256.5KM (159 miles) over two stages - one stage each day.

·         The men's course covered 711KM (442 miles) over four stages - one stage each day.

The Tour de Yorkshire race is owned by the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), a French company based in Paris. They gave it the French name. Some of the climbs on the route have been given French names too, for example, the Côte de Otley Chevin. Can you find out the routes of the three stages from 2018?

Beryl Burton

Read more about the amazing achievements of Beryl in the 'Top Leeds Sporting Heroes' chapter.

Kadeena Cox

Kadeena was born in Leeds and grew up attending local schools in Chapeltown, studying Sport Science at Leeds Beckett University. Read more about Kadeena in the 'Top Leeds Sporting Heroes' chapter.



Ever thought of diving from a 10m high board into a 5m deep pool? Well that’s what some of our Leeds divers do on a daily basis. Leeds has some of the best diving facilities in England. The City of Leeds Diving Club train at John Charles Centre for Sport in South Leeds. The club has trained some brilliant divers who have been selected for Team GB, including our first ever Olympic diving champions Jack Laugher and Chris Means. Jack and Chris won the gold medal in the 3m Synchro Diving competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics. That was the first ever Olympic gold medal for Great Britain in diving!



The Triathlon has become a much more popular sport over the last few years. Leeds held the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon competition in 2017 and 2018 and can boast some of the world’s best triathletes. Brothers Jonathan and Alistair Brownlee have dominated the sport for several years. They won gold and silver in the 2016 Olympic Triathlon in RIO. You can find out more about them in the Leeds Sporting Heroes section.

Colour photograph showing two runners on a street with police motorbike and camera
The Brownlee Brothers, Triatheletes

Competitors in the World Triathlon Series in Leeds swim, cycle and run along a course from the lake in Roundhay Park to the city centre. Pretty good going!

Graph showing sprint and olympic triathalon distances
Triathalon Distances



There are several large and successful hockey clubs in Leeds including Leeds Hockey Club, Leeds Adel Carnegie Hockey Club, the University of Leeds Hockey Club and Leeds Beckett University Hockey Club. Leeds Hockey Club Men's 1s gained promotion at the end of the 2016/2017 season to become Leeds' first hockey team competing in a National League.