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Rhinos rally to aid beleaguered Bulls
Leeds Rhinos will donate money generated from away ticket sales for next Friday’s Super League derby with Bradford Bulls to its beleaguered rival.
The Bulls, which have until Friday, July 27 to find a buyer or face liquidation, would normally be entitled to a small percentage from the sale of tickets sold by the club for away games – but the Rhinos are to donate all proceeds in the hope of raising at least £50,000.
Rhinos’ chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “The game has a collective responsibility towards those who have been hit by the Bulls’ current financial difficulties and we at Leeds Rhinos are keen to assist at this difficult time.
“We also want to attract a 20,000 crowd, create a good news story for rugby league and make this Friday a memorable occasion. Together we can achieve all that.”
Gary Tasker, Bradford Bulls interim chief executive, who said the offer applies only to tickets sold by his club before the Headingley game, added: "This is a fantastic gesture from our neighbours and we appreciate it at this difficult time.
“In adversity you learn a lot about people and since my return I have been surprised by some of the calls I have received.
“However, I am not surprised Leeds Rhinos have made this offer. The Rhinos have always seen the bigger picture for the game of rugby league and now we can look forward to a bumper crowd for the derby clash. Hopefully, we will have a Western Terrace full of Bulls fans on Friday night and tickets will be available all week from the Odsal ticket office.”
It is understood by the Telegraph & Argus clubs in the Super League are divided over whether the Bulls should be allowed to stay in the top division.
A group of local Asian businessmen known as the ABC consortium, who have emerged as the only potential saviours for the Bulls, have said they will only buy the club if it retains its Super League licence. The group is also seeking to buy back the lease for Odsal Stadium from the Rugby Football League.
The club’s joint administrator, Brendan Guilfoyle, recently made 16 full-time staff redundant in an effort to slash its wage bill and reduce running costs.