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Barriers at Bradford Bulls stadium ‘not removed for cash’
Former Bradford Bulls chairman Mark Moore yesterday insisted there was “no major financial gain” from the controversial scrapping of metal safety barriers at Odsal Stadium.
The owner of Bradford-based company BedzRus – part of the Bradford Bulls 2014 consortium which walked away from a deal to buy the club on Tuesday after it was was docked six points by the Rugby Football League – said the barriers were being taken down for “safety reasons”.
But the move has disappointed campaigners who want to see motorsport back in Bradford as the absence of safety barriers – used when stock car racing took place at Odsal – would rule out such activity at the site.
However, speedway promoter Steven Rees is still harbouring hopes for a change of mind by Odsal’s owners.
“I just want to talk to someone about how other activities at Odsal could help the stadium as well as rugby league,” he said.
Details of the removal of the barriers emerged amid the crisis which has engulfed the Bulls in the past month.
The Super League club is being run by Leeds-based insolvency practitioner David Wilson after a long-running ownership saga which resulted in it entering administration on January 31 and being docked points by the RFL.
One Bulls supporter said: “The club has basically scrapped a load of metal barriers around the pitch and we believe they were sold for scrap last week.”
But Mr Moore, who was part of a team of directors fronting Bradford Bulls 2014, said: “The barriers are being taken down for various reasons, including safety. They are not being sold for scrap as such.”
Accepting that work to remove the barriers began when he was still a director of the Bulls, Mr Moore said: “An outside company is doing the work and repairing the area where the barriers were situated.
“Any money from sale of the metal will be re-invested in safety and improvements on terrace three. The firm will sell the scrap to fund this work.
“People might think there is a lot of money in metals, but the amount that will be left in the kitty won’t be a lot. There is no major financial gain for anyone involved.”
Mr Rees, who runs Startrax Oval Motorsport, admitted the removal of the barriers was “a big setback” to his hopes of bringing speedway back to Odsal.
“I know the chances are slim,” he said. “What irks me is they are taking out the infrastructure. No-one is talking to us. I simply want to explore options to help the Bulls and keep the stadium alive. To bring motorsport back would mean reinstating the barriers so it looks like it is off the agenda.”
Mr Rees has appealed for help from a number of sources – including Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway.
“I will wait to see what response I get from the approaches I have put out,” he said.
“It’s in everyone’s interests. The current situation is far from ideal, so why blank things out? I have no high hopes of success, but I have to do something.”
Mr Moore said: “Motorsport is off the agenda at Odsal. Steven Rees knows that. People from the club have spoken to him. It won’t come back and all parties are aware of this.”