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RFL confident Bradford Bulls will finish the season
RFL chief executive Nigel Wood yesterday expressed his confidence that a buyer for the crisis-torn Bulls could be found to avert the looming threat of liquidation. And he said there is no reason why the club should not finish the Super League season, even if a buyer is not found.
RFL officials met Super League club representatives yesterday to update them on the Bulls’ plight and to debate the issues surrounding their administration.
Wood told a press conference in Brighouse: “We’re very confident the club can be saved. It’s a big club with a big brand and I think there’s already significant amount of interest.
“Guilfoyle has consistently stated that he has received no firm offers to buy the club, although he was talking to an interested party yesterday afternoon.
“We are certainly aware of people who have expressed an interest.
“Whether that has crystallised into a firm written offer, I don’t know, but we are aware of interest in the club.”
Guilfoyle, who made 16 full-time staff redundant earlier this week, says he has around £20,000 to run the club and will be unable to meet the players’ wage bill of around £200,000 when it is due next Friday.
But Wood and RFL director of licensing and standards Blake Solly told the media briefing that the administrator will have access to three potential sources of funding that can buy him more time.
“One of them is through monies that he makes through putting on the matches,” said Solly.
“He may also consider player sales and thirdly he’s got the Sky distribution.
“Between those three sources of revenue, we believe he has enough to finish the season.
“We’re really confident the players will get paid next week.”
Solly confirmed that clubs are due their next instalment of television income in the next ten days and Wood suggested the governing body would be prepared to advance Bradford their share.
“There is every optimism that we have the resources to make sure the club can fulfil its obligations this season,” said Wood.
Wood expressed sympathy with the staff who Guilfoyle made redundant on Monday and he admitted: “There’s a concern about the generality of the way things have been handled rather than just the coaching situation.”
Wood also confirmed that a decision on a sporting sanction would be made by the RFL board in the next seven days, with the Bulls facing an automatic deduction of up to six competition points for breaching insolvency regulations.
Yesterday’s briefing followed a meeting of the other 12 English Super League clubs in Bradford to discuss the crisis at the Bulls.
“There was a full and frank discussion,” said Wood. “There was a unanimous position taken about making sure the game supported the club as much as possible.”
Asked about the timescale to find a buyer, Wood said: “The administrator has talked about Tuesday being his deadline, but that’s a matter for him really.
“He has to work against his own schedule.
“There’s a legal process with administration and a cut-off point after which the administrator becomes personally liable for the expenses of the business.
“It’s no surprise that he needs to operate to a fixed deadline but we will work with the administrator to make sure that the club has the time it needs to find new owners that are going to take it forward.
“We sit here today very optimistic that the club can conclude the season and determined to work with the administrator to enable that to happen.”
Guilfoyle has so far resisted selling players and Wood added: “I think the administrator’s own preference is to find a purchaser to take it on as a going concern, which to a large extent is why no player sales have been contemplated just yet.
“He has a legal obligation to explore all alternatives.”
Should the Bulls find a buyer, the RFL would consider transferring the club’s current Super League licence, which has two years remaining, to the new owners.
“The issue then becomes at the discretion of the RFL board whether to allow the club to fulfill the remaining years on it,” said Solly.