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RFL chief Nigel Wood's thumbs-up for Bradford Bulls progress
RFL supremo Nigel Wood expects a decision on the Bulls’ Super League future to be made midway through the current campaign but declared himself “excited” with the club’s new ownership.
The game’s governing body awarded the Bulls only a one-year probationary licence when Omar Khan stepped in to save the club from the brink of liquidation last September.
Uncertainty surrounds the criteria the club must fulfil to stay in Super League bey-ond 2013 but Wood said the RFL were encouraged by the off-field progress being made and predicted it would continue.
Speaking at a media briefing at the RFL’s Red Hall HQ yesterday, chief executive Wood said: “I think we should be very excited about what’s going on at Bradford.
“As is often the case when you get a new owner, you also get new energy and new ideas – there is a bit of a bounceback.
“I was speaking to Omar last night and he’s certainly excited about where the club is.
“He thinks they’re making a lot of progress and was excited about how the team had performed against Leeds on Sunday.
“I think the club is in a decent place and is certainly in a better place than it was 12 months ago.”
The RFL said the decision to award the Bulls a probationary licence would mean it could keep a close watch on its progress and eradicate the possible need to undergo a mini-licensing round.
The Bulls also agreed to sacrifice a “sizeable” chunk of its £1.2 million Sky television money from the RFL as part of the deal that secured its future in Super League this year.
But Wood said yesterday that the Bulls would receive the same amount as the other 13 Super League clubs in sponsorship revenue and gate receipts for the coming season.
Wood, who admitted that both the new Super League and Championship competitions could begin the new season without a title sponsor, said the Bulls’ progress would continue to be monitored ahead of any decision on their future.
The RFL boss is currently overseeing Salford’s change of ownership and added: “Bradford need to keep doing what they’re doing, which is generating revenue, paying people on time and performing.
“We are working with them on a weekly basis so that they continue to make sound progress.
“They’ve made a really solid start and Bradford were one of the flagship brands of the competition in the first decade of Super League.
“The sport will be stronger if they re-emerge in that guise again as soon as possible.
“We will probably review Bradford in mid-season bec-ause people need that certainty to be able to plan. As soon as we get to a certain point I’m sure there will be a discussion and a decision made.”
Meanwhile, the Bulls’ home game against St Helens is set to be brought forward two days.
It is currently scheduled for Sunday, February 24 but City’s success in reaching the Capital One Cup final on the same day seems certain to see the Saints fixture switched to the Friday night.
Speaking on the Bantams’ success in reaching Wembley, Bulls owner Khan said: “I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Bradford City on reaching the Capital One Cup final at Wembley.
“They have brought great honour to the city of Bradford and their achievement is tremendous.
“Mark Lawn and Julian Rhodes have done a terrific job with the club and I am delighted for them. I would like to wish them every success in the final next month.”
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