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Jobs will be lost, say Bulls directors, as club faces new financial crisis
Bradford Bulls last night told supporters the club is facing a fresh financial crisis as it was revealed that savings of at least £400,000 must be made to keep it alive.
Fewer than two years after the Super League outfit mounted the Quest For Survival campaign, its new directors have revealed they are again fighting to stay afloat.
This time they will not be asking fans for cash – but the club’s board has warned that jobs would be lost amid the savings that must be made over the next 12 months.
Directors Mark Moore, Ian Watt and Andrew Calvert claimed in a statement that “as each day goes by the board continues to receive more information detrimental to the stability of the business”.
They added: “The last administrative team struggled to understand the full impact of running this club and stepped away from the business with large outstanding debts which the club now needs to recover from.”
Their statement also spelled out that the club will be forced to lose members of staff in every department and that budgets would be slashed in order to achieve the overriding objective of survival. The club’s administration staff were told of the dire situation by the directors yesterday while head coach Francis Cummins and his players were also addressed.
Although Mr Moore insisted the first-team squad had been “ring-fenced” as much as possible from the cuts, the players were told they are free to look for another club should an opportunity arise elsewhere.
While it was stressed that the Bulls would not be entering administration, Mr Moore said the club would look to begin shedding costs as of tomorrow and that jobs would be lost.
Mr Moore said: “We need to save £400,000 from our bottom line, so jobs will be lost and the process is already under way.
“We are ring-fencing the first-team squad as much as we can, but they know the situation because the majority of them have been through it before.
“We appreciate that some of them may not want to go through it again, so if they want to leave of their own accord then we will have that conversation.
“Basically, in 2014 we are in survival mode.”
The Bulls’ monthly wage bill is about £220,000 and the club will again receive only half of the central monies from the Rugby Football League – approximately £650,000 – in 2014.
Bradford businessman and restaurateur Omar Khan, whose takeover of the Bulls in September 2012 helped to safeguard the club’s future and resulted in a substantial injection of his own cash, did not want to comment last night.
Blake Solly, the RFL’s director of licensing and standards, said: “The directors of the club have kept us informed at every stage of the process and we have been supporting them through the process. We have confidence that they are doing the right thing in ensuring the business is sustainable.”
The revelation of the Bulls’ latest financial crisis comes after a firm called Bradford Bulls 2014 Limited was registered with Companies House on November 12, which sparked online speculation that the current outfit OK Bulls Limited could be about to enter administration.
The 2014 firm has the same directors as OK Bulls, with documents confirming Mr Moore, Mr Calvert and Mr Watt each own a third of the shares.
The directors have insisted the club would continue to trade through OK Bulls and the new company, with the shares that Mr Khan and former general manager Ryan Whitcut hold in OK Bulls being transferred over to the three current directors.
The directors said they had each put significant sums into the club, but Mr Calvert said yesterday: “We’ve put in as much as we can and that’s it now.
“The danger for us from a personal perspective is that we end up without a penny to our name. OK Bulls will not be entering administration and we will continue to trade through it along with the new company.”
Meanwhile, chief executive Robbie Hunter-Paul told season ticket-holders at a fans’ forum last night that progress had been made with regards to strengthening relationships with existing sponsors and potential new ones.
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