Garreth Carvell’s future remained uncertain last night as he attempts to secure a move away from Bradford to Hull FC.
The close-season signing from Warrington is in dispute with the Bulls over his contract following the administration of OK Bulls Ltd last Friday.
The Bulls said that “all players, employees and assets have been transferred to the new company”, namely Bradford Bulls 2014 Ltd.
Carvell signed a two-year contract with the Bulls last year and is understood to have been offered a one-year deal at Hull, with the option for a second year, and on improved terms.
It is unclear whether Hull will offer Bradford a monetary settlement for a player who has made it clear he wants to leave the Provident Stadium.
An RFL spokesman said the dispute over the 32-year-old prop’s contract at Bradford was “an issue for the player, his club and his agent”.
Neither Carvell nor his agent, Andy Clarke, were available for comment but both Hull and Bradford used their official club websites to make statements on the subject.
The Black and Whites said: “Hull FC have confirmed that they’re monitoring the on-going contract situation of former forward Garreth Carvell.
“The club have 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.”
That provoked a swift response from the Bulls, who said: “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.
“Our message is very, very clear: Leave our team alone. No-one is for sale.”
Sports lawyer Richard Cramer, of Leeds-based firm FrontRow Legal, said Carvell would legally be within his rights to walk away from his contract with Bradford Bulls 2014 Ltd provided he notified the club on the day of the change of ownership.
He said: “There is no obligation from the employer to ask the employee if they wish to transfer their contract from the old to new company – the transfer automatically takes place.
“But under regulation four of the TUPE regulations 2006, an employee has the right to terminate his contract of employment by giving notice on the day of the transfer of the undertaking.
“If he has given proper notice under that TUPE regulation then he can lawfully bring that employment contract to an end.
“But it would be highly unusual for a player to walk out on a contract without having some form of alternative employment lined up."
It remains to be seen whether the Bulls will lodge an official complaint with the RFL over the circumstances of Carvell wanting to join Hull.
Cramer believes the situation will be resolved by Hull paying Bradford a monetary settlement for Carvell.
He added: “The reality is that it will be difficult for Bradford to raise any objections and I think they’ve probably lost him as a player.
“The question is what rights Bradford have got and I suppose the only rights they have got is whether they could prove that the player had been tapped up.
“My prediction is that he will end up at Hull and they will end up paying Bradford some compensation.”
Bulls officials will meet with the RFL today as they seek ratification of the change of ownership and transferral of the club’s RFL membership and Super League licence.
The issue of Carvell’s future is also likely to be on the agenda, although the governing body are not expected to announce today what sanction, if any, the Bulls face for entering administration.
The club met with players yesterday to clarify the situation over their contracts in the light of the change of ownership.