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Bradford Bulls in limbo as three directors resign
Bradford Bulls is embroiled in a new crisis after three of the club’s directors and potential new owners stepped down on Christmas Eve.
But a bitter legal battle over the sale of the Super League club looks certain to end up in court, despite the board’s resignation.
Bradford restaurant boss Omar Khan last night insisted he would continue to take legal action against the two men he agreed to sell the club to in September, after a stand-off over the transfer of his shares led to the walkout by directors Mark Moore, Andrew Calvert and Ian Watt.
The RFL held crisis talks with Mr Khan and former Bulls’ honorary chairman and Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe on Tuesday in a bid to broker an agreement that would have seen Mr Khan’s shares in the company transferred to the new board of directors.
But the meeting ended with Mr Khan refusing to grant the change of ownership, claiming he has yet to be paid an undisclosed sum by Mr Moore and former club general manager Ryan Whitcut for the sale of the business.
In a statement, Mr Moore confirmed that he, Mr Calvert and Mr Watt would now stand down with immediate effect, saying they could no longer continue to run the club without owning the shares.
Mr Calvert and Mr Watt were announced as investors shortly after Mr Moore and Mr Whitcut became co-chairman, but Mr Whitcut left the business in November after it became clear he would fail a fit and proper persons test by the sport’s governing body. It is believed Mr Khan will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the club and will now appoint a new director, while chief executive Robbie Hunter-Paul will remain at the helm.
Mr Khan told the Telegraph & Argus he had a contract with Mr Moore and Mr Whitcut to sell the club, which he was still “more than willing to honour”.
“Mr Moore’s resignation as a director does nothing to invalidate that contract,” he said.
“They agreed to pay me a sum of money on October 31 which they have not done. This initial payment is far less than my financial commitment to the club over the past year. They have indicated that they do not intend to make this payment, therefore I have no alternative to ensure that they honour their commitments through the courts.”
Part of the row between the parties centres on the new directors’ claims that they found “massive holes” in the club’s finances when they joined the business. Mr Moore said Mr Khan was also now requesting payment for a director’s loan from the club.
But Mr Khan disputed the claims, saying: “Mr Moore and Mr Whitcut had access to the financial information regarding the club.”
Mr Sutcliffe said he was “shocked and surprised” by the directors’ announcement.
Ralph Rimmer, of the RFL, said the governing body would work closely with the Bulls, adding it had been assured all the club’s players and staff would be paid this month’s wages.
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