Bradford Bulls tell Super League rivals: Our players are not for sale (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Bulls declare intention to keep Garreth Carvell amid Hull FC speculation
The Bulls have today stressed they wish to keep their squad intact amid speculation linking Garreth Carvell with a move to Hull FC.
The Black and Whites issued a statement on their official club website this morning saying that they had “been made aware of Carvell's availability and could look to formalise a deal for the Challenge Cup winner in the near future once his situation has been clarified”.
But the Bulls say they are “shocked, baffled and disappointed” by the speculation and that no deal for the prop has been or will be sanctioned.
Carvell joined Bradford on a two-year deal at the end of last season and the Bulls expect him to honour that commitment after declaring their intention to "ring-fence" Francis Cummins' squad last weekend.
A statement from the Bulls today said: "We are shocked and disappointed by some of the comments made today regarding one of our players.
"To say we are baffled by talk that another club is 'monitoring' an 'on-going contract situation' would be an understatement.
"We can confirm that no form of deal has been sanctioned by the board of directors.
"Recent reports have and are continuing to cause major confusion and distress among our supporters, while undermining our efforts to rebuild this club – with extremely limited resources.
"Agents and clubs need also to be mindful of the confusion and distress which these kinds of approaches can cause for players and their families.
"We are operating with only half of the central funding provided for our Super League rivals and we have been through a very difficult time.
"Our message is very, very clear: Leave our team alone. No-one is for sale.
"The announcement to ring-fence our first-team squad last week was designed to create some stability for the players, while offering Francis the support he requires as head coach.
"It was about consolidation, as we want to keep what we have very much intact ahead of the new season to give both fans and all other stakeholders clarity.
"We are not foolish enough to believe that talks do not go on between players and clubs during a season, but they must happen in an appropriate manner and at an appropriate time.
"And we would ask all clubs to act in a right and proper manner, in keeping with the family spirit of rugby league."
Directors and HR representatives are to meet with the Bulls squad later today in a bid to once again outline the players' contractual position.
The club say they will be making no further comment at this time.