Omar Khan hits out at 'selfish' Super League rivals as they share out Bradford Bulls' TV cash

Bulls owner Omar Khan

Bulls owner Omar Khan

First published in Sport by

Bulls owner Omar Khan has condemned his club’s Super League rivals for pocketing the television income forfeited by Bradford.

The Odsal outfit agreed to forgo this year’s Sky TV revenue as part of the deal to enable them to keep their place in Super League on a 12-month provisional licence, after coming out of administration towards the end of last season.

Restaurateur Khan and local MP Gerry Sutcliffe brought the club back from the brink of bankruptcy with their successful take-over and they are confident of turning the former champions around despite a lack of central funding in their first year.

But speaking at the Bulls’ pre-season media day, Khan said he was disappointed with the actions of the other 13 clubs in voting to divide Bradford’s allocation of around £1million.

He hit out at their “selfish” attitude and claimed the money ought to have been used for the overall benefit of the game.

Khan said: “When you come out of administration, you need all the help you can get. But the money was split between the clubs, which was very disappointing.

“There were two or three clubs that didn’t want that money; they wanted to support the club, which was very good of them. But the rest wanted that money.

“It doesn’t make sense to me. If that money had gone to make the game bigger, it wouldn’t have bothered me.

“The conclusion I’ve come to is ‘you take care of yourself’. We’re just a club on its own. Every club is on its own but it shouldn’t be. They should be working together to grow the game.

“If it was up to me, I’d make decisions for the whole of the game. It’s a game that should grow – it should have grown a long time ago.

“Rugby league should be buzzing and becoming a massive game but at the moment it’s declining.”

Khan’s comments come in the wake of the controversial report commissioned by the BBC which claims Super League clubs are more than £60million in debt and facing a “financial abyss”.

Despite his frustration with the rest of Super League, Khan insists he is happy to bankroll the Bulls in 2013 and is confident he can help them start to make a profit within 12 months.

He said: “We’ve a clean slate. The only debt the club owes is to me and it’s mine. I don’t owe anybody anything.”

Khan, who is personally leading a new administration, admits the club’s problems were greater than he anticipated but insists he has no regrets over making his commitment and is fully behind new head coach Francis Cummins.

He said: “It was a shambles. A lot of things came out of the woodwork that I didn’t like. It’s one helluva a job turning it around.

“But I am pleased with the way it’s going at the moment. I’m here seven days a week – I take the odd Sunday afternoon off – and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

“I’m here at six or seven in the morning and I carry on all the way through until nine, ten or 11 at night.

“The team is going well. I’ve left that side of it to the coach. I’m very busy on the business side of it.

“I’ve said the only time I will point a finger at him is if we mess up, but I don’t think we will. I’ve got every confidence in him. He’s doing a fab job.”

Khan, who is also an ambassador for neighbours City and will be at Wembley to cheer them on at the Capital One Cup final later this month, insists Super League clubs can be run as a business.

He said: “For me it’s a passion but you’ve got to make it work as a business. I love the city and I love the club. If you get into it and treat it as a business, it will work.

“I am hoping, if everything goes the way I’m taking it, we should be able to turn it around in a year. This is the hardest year I’ve got. In the second year we should start making a profit.”

Odsal will host three pop concerts over the Spring Bank Holiday and Khan says he is making full use of the ground’s Coral Suite.

He also has plans to develop the famous ground, which the Bulls currently lease from the League.

Khan said: “The first thing is to stabilise the club but we are talking to architects about that and I’m hoping within three years development will start taking place.”

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