‘Clearing £1.5m debts could keep Bradford Bulls in Super League’ (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Finding £1.5m may be only way for Bradford Bulls to stay in top flight, says rugby boss
Struggling Bradford Bulls could be relegated to the Championship unless a buyer with £1.5 million to repay the club’s debts can be found by the start of next season, it was revealed last night.
Blake Solly, RFL director of licensing, told the Telegraph & Argus it would be a “problem for a lot of clubs” if the Bulls were allowed to continue in the Super League after their financial crisis, adding: “Anything that neutralises that would increase the club’s chances of remaining in the Super League.”
The scale of the ailing club’s debt, estimated to be between £1 million and £1.5 million, was revealed by supporters’ group BullBuilder yesterday, which met Mr Solly hours after Super League Europe (SLE) announced its bid to save the side from liquidation.
The RFL chief confirmed any decision on whether Bulls could remain in the top flight would be made by the governing body’s board and the club’s position would be “weakened” if debts remained unpaid. It is understood the cash would be “morally” owed rather than legally.
He said: “To have been in £1 million of debt and expect to continue in the competition in the next year without difficulty is a problem for a lot of clubs.”
In the meeting with fans’ groups, Mr Solly said he could not guarantee the Bulls would remain in Super League for 2013 and revealed that, if the latest bid is accepted, Bulls players would be free to speak to other clubs to secure their futures for next season.
A statement from BullBuilder said: “In a constructive meeting, we established that SLE look on this as a short-term measure and are confident of attracting a long-term, unconditional bid in the near future.
“Solly could give no guarantees about the division in which the club will play next season. He commented that the debt of the club remains a concern and is estimated to be approximately £1.5m.
“However, he assured BullBuilder that the club would continue to play at Odsal for the foreseeable future.”
The BullBuilder spokesman said if SLE’s bid is accepted, it is likely that some of the back room and coaching staff who were made redundant by administrator Brendan Guilfoyle and are currently working without pay may be reinstated.
Joint administrator Brendan Guilfoyle, of The P&A Partnership, is expected to make a decision on whether to accept SLE’s offer early next week.