Bradford City football club has tabled a shock eleventh-hour bid for struggling Bradford Bulls, the Telegraph & Argus can exclusively reveal.
The last-ditch deal, which carries no conditions, was discussed by the Rugby Football League during a “very positive” conference call with its chief executive Nigel Wood, who is in Australia, last night.
After the meeting, the governing body said the offer, which has gazumped a potential buyout by Super League Europe, was the first unconditional offer it had received and talks would continue over the next 48 hours.
When approached for comment, Bantams’ joint chairman Julian Rhodes, who has previously spoken about the clubs sharing a ground, refused to confirm it had submitted an offer.
But he revealed the club had been speaking to the RFL and administrator Brendan Guilfoyle about how it could help its struggling neighbour.
“We just wanted to see how we could help to keep the club alive, whether that’s in the Super League or in the Championship,” he said.
“We don’t want to see the club die.”
Mr Guilfoyle yesterday announced news of the fresh bid which was submitted to the RFL last Friday – two days after SLE submitted its “last chance saloon” bid on behalf of Bulls’ 13 rival top-flight sides to stave off the threat of liquidation.
After yesterday’s meeting, an RFL spokesman said it believed the offer had convinced the new buyer to come forward.
“The meeting was very positive,” he said.
“The Super League clubs put in their bid last Wednesday and this offer came forward on Friday. This offer came from nowhere, from someone who hadn’t contacted the administrator before.
“By making an offer, the Super League clubs were able to show their confidence in Bradford Bulls.
“This is the first time since this started that we have been able to consider an unconditional offer.”
The new offer, for an undisclosed sum, is the fourth bid Mr Guilfoyle has received for the financially-stricken club, which has been in administration since June 26.
Previous bids from a consortium of Bradford businessmen, known as ABC, were rejected because of the conditions attached.
Mr Guilfoyle said yesterday: “I understand the frustration of fans, players and staff that we haven’t sold the club yet. The administrators have a duty to creditors to aim to get the best deal possible so we submit all offers where funds are proved.
“This new offer is for more than SLE put forward so we felt obliged to submit to the RFL for consideration.”
A source connected to ABC yesterday confirmed it had not tabled the new bid, but said the potential takeover was “good news for Bradford Bulls”.
“It’s good that people have come forward. It’s not us, but it’s a step in the right direction,” he added.
Former Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe had also fronted a bid from Bradford restaurant owner Omar Khan, although it has not been seen by the RFL.