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Wakefield chairman wants Bradford Bulls' points penalty upheld
Wakefield chairman Michael Carter would consider quitting rugby league if Bradford succeed in overturning their points deduction for going into administration.
The Bulls this week launched an appeal to win back the six points they were docked for breaching the Rugby Football League’s insolvency regulations earlier this year.
They are currently bottom of Super League on minus two and, along with London Broncos, are currently favourites to be relegated at the end of the season.
Having won just two of their opening eight matches, the Wildcats are seen as the club most likely to be affected if the Bulls are successful with their appeal, which Carter believes would be unfair.
Having sold a host of players and put his house up as security to ease debts of around £600,000 and prevent Wakefield from going into administration last August, Carter also argues that it would set an unfortunate precedent if Bradford escape punishment.
“I’m not having a go at Bradford - I would probably do the same thing - but we were told that, in all probability, if we had gone into administration last August, then we would have got kicked out of Super League because the clubs were looking to get down to 12,” said Carter.
“If we had gone into administration, we probably wouldn’t have got our licence to play this season, yet it seems to me we’re not playing off the same playing field here.
“It would have been quite easy for us to go into administration with the consequence of lots of businesses losing out on lots of money.
“I’m pretty proud of the way we’ve managed to turn the business around. We’ve made sure everybody has got paid to the detriment of our team. We had to sell seven or eight players to bring money in.
“We got told one thing and it seems to me that Bradford are going down another line that we weren’t allowed to pursue at that time.”
Bradford’s appeal is based on their assertion that the insolvency event arose solely as a result of force majeure, in that the club’s administration occurred in circumstances that were unforeseeable and unavoidable.
The RFL says the appeal will be heard “as soon as possible” by a specially-convened independent sporting sanctions appeal panel chaired by a qualified solicitor or barrister which has the right to uphold the deduction, reduce the severity or overthrow it.
Carter added: “I’m forever the pessimist so I’m preparing myself for the worst-case scenario, which is that they’ll get all six points back and that would be pretty unfair, bearing in mind what we were told.
“We tried to do things the right way and, if Bradford do end up getting the whole six points back, for want of a better phrase, they’ve got away with it, haven’t they?
“They haven’t particularly had to break up the team like we did. Obviously we got (Nick) Scruton and (Jarrod) Sammut from them but we did that all above board.
“If there is no penalty for going into administration, then what’s to stop us going into administration? We wouldn’t do it now because our debts aren’t particularly great.
“We’ve managed to pay the majority off. I put my house on the line, as did my business partner Chris Brereton, to clear off some of these debts so we’ve still having to repay that to make sure we get our houses back.
“It’s going to stick in my throat a little bit if the penalty for going into administration ends up being nothing. I wouldn’t make a decision now but it would probably be the beginning of the end for me in rugby league I would have thought because it seems to me, if you do the right thing, then you’re not really getting the rewards.
“It’s a difficult one. There’s going to be winners and losers out of it unfortunately. Obviously I hope we come out of it okay because by and large we tried to do the right thing.”
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