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‘Up to five’ groups eye up Bradford Bulls
The administrator of the beleaguered Bradford Bulls yesterday announced he had received a flurry of offers for the club – a day after the Telegraph & Argus exclusively revealed Bradford City Football Club had entered the race to save it from liquidation.
Brendan Guilfoyle, of The P&A Partnership, said there were now “up to five” parties interested in rescuing the Super League club from collapse and gave prospective buyers until noon today to express their interest.
Bantams’ co-chairman Julian Rhodes told the Telegraph & Argus he approached the Rugby Football League and administrator about how it could help its struggling neighbour, and it is believed the offer was discussed by the governing body on Wednesday night.
The bid came two days after Super League (Europe) Ltd submitted a bid on behalf of Bulls’ 13 top-flight rivals.
Yesterday, former Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe revealed Bradford curry house boss Omar Khan has also joined the running to take over the club and an unconditional offer has been submitted to the administrator and the RFL.
Mr Khan’s original bid was not passed on to the governing body for consideration because of the previous conditions attached – that the side remains in the Super League and the new buyer is able to buy the lease to Odsal Stadium.
But Mr Sutcliffe said the conditions have now been removed. “Omar Khan is still interested in buying the club. Obviously it’s good news that there’s a number of bids that can be considered,” he said.
“I hope the RFL picks the best bid to make sure we can keep Bradford Bulls going – preferably in the Super League.”
Asked about Bradford City’s bid, the Bradford South MP replied: “I hope the RFL chooses the best bid that’s in the best interests of rugby league in Bradford.”
Mr Guilfoyle yesterday revealed a consortium of Bradford businessmen known as ABC had “reluctantly” withdrawn its offer for the club – but there was still a lot of interest in the club.
“There could now be up to five interested purchasers for the Bradford Bulls,” Mr Guilfoyle said.
“It’s in everyone’s interest that we get a deal over the line as quickly as possible.
“Therefore, we have set this deadline of noon tomorrow for unconditional offers from anyone who can show that they have funds in place and a business plan.
“In addition to the offer from SLE and an unconditional offer the RFL considered yesterday, I understand that the RFL may have other parties interested in buying Bradford Bulls.
“The ABC consortium has reluctantly withdrawn. I have another group from Bradford still considering whether to make an unconditional offer.”
Mr Guilfoyle stressed that any offers must be unconditional and advised potential bidders to consider a number of factors.
“Any purchaser is taking a chance on whether the club will be continuing in the Super League or playing in the Championship next season,” he said.
“If it’s the latter then the owner will still be paying Super League wages for up to 20 players for the next year.
“As well as paying rent to the RFL for Odsal any new owner will probably have to make capital investment in the ground before the next round of Super League franchise bids in 2015.”
RFL director of standards and licensing Blake Solly hailed the “decisive and bold actions” of SLE for the new interest in the club and set a deadline of 5pm today for prospective buyers to approach the governing body.
“The board continues to be receptive to unconditional offers and is keen to bring to an end the uncertainty surrounding the future of Bradford Bulls and the wider sport,” he said.