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Mark Moore, Andrew Calvert and Ian Watt to step down from Bradford Bulls
The Bulls’ current board of directors have announced they are leaving the club after no agreement for the transfer of shares could be reached with owner Omar Khan.
The RFL’s chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer today met Khan and Gerry Sutcliffe in a bid to find a resolution to the club’s ownership saga.
But no agreement could be reached and now Andrew Calvert, Mark Moore and Ian Watt have stepped down.
Mr Moore has issued the following statement: "It comes with great disappointment and regret that we hereby notify all Bulls supporters that Ian Watt, Andrew Calvert and I have decided to step down from the club due to the failure of the share transfer from previous owners Omar Khan and Gerry Sutcliffe MP.
"Omar Khan is also now requesting payment for his director’s loans from the club.
"We understand that professional sport is all about keeping strong confidence with all of the key stakeholders.
"These stakeholders are suppliers, players, staff members, sponsors and most importantly our supporters.
"That confidence is integral to the clubs success and without the shares issue being agreed by Mr Khan we feel a line cannot be drawn under the whole affair.
"We have all personally invested a substantial amount of money into OK Bulls and have worked tirelessly to turn the club around, with a focus of making it self-sustainable.
"Andrew Calvert has built up a working relationship with most of our creditors, who have been very supportive with the majority of them agreeing a payment plan so the club could build back the trust needed.
"Over the past few weeks we have also worked closely with three other West Yorkshire-based Super League clubs to sense check our budgets, ensuring we had a clearer understanding of what we could expect for the coming year.
"By using better models to base our budgetary strategy against we felt this was the only way to make sure the club could navigate its way through what will be a tough 2014 season, before we reach the full Super League central funding allocation in 2015.
"We also took the tough and uncomfortable decision to retract the business and make cuts across every business unit and streamline budgets based on current income forecast as we felt this was the only way the business could function self sustainably.
"Throughout this process we had been under the impression that the entirety of the OK Bulls shares would be transferred to our team.
"This all had been part of a bigger ongoing discussion between us, Omar Khan’s solicitors and other important stakeholders, such as, Bradford Council and the Rugby Football League.
"However, it has since transpired that still Mr Khan will not release the shares to us, despite these discussions with all stakeholders.
"We all felt that it was in the best interest of the club that we exhausted all avenues before making this decision and there was a final meeting between Mr Khan, Mr Sutcliffe and the governing body this morning – but to no avail as Mr Khan is still insistent on not passing over the shares, which he legally holds.
"As a group we in effect have no power to run the business successfully without having the legal responsibility which is the foundation of all business.
"Mr Khan has stated that he will not transfer the shares and as such he will now need to come back into the business and take control.
"We are all confident that the business in now in the best position it has been in for the last two years and we hope the club will not revisit similar mistakes made in the past.
"Finally we would like to thank staff, sponsors, suppliers – and of course supporters – that have shown us and club unwavering support throughout what has been a tumultuous two years for the Bulls.
"We are unhappy that the situation has lead us to this point but as all supporters will agree without owning the shares to the business the club will be at the mercy of whom ever has that control.
"We all have our own businesses, which have suffered in the light of the countless hours of work we have invested into righting the rocky ship, as well as taking our time away from our families, which we all must now focus on.
"Equally we are all Bulls fans and will cheer the players on from the sidelines more than ever."
Responding to the announcement, Mr Sutcliffe said: “I am shocked and surprised by the announcement made by the three directors of Bradford Bulls especially the cynical timing of the announcement which will seriously affect the future of the club.
“When I stepped down as honorary chairman in September it was on the understanding that the new team had agreed the sale of the club from Omar Khan due to his ill health.
“That agreement has not been honoured according to Mr Khan.
“I was contacted recently by the rugby league to try to help to find a solution as someone who has fought to keep the club from last year’s threat of liquidation.
“I remain available to have discussions with any party committed to the sustainable future of the club.”
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