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MP Sutcliffe leads bid with restaurant owner to buy Bulls
Former Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe and Bradford curry house boss Omar Khan plan to submit an eleventh hour bid to save beleaguered Bradford Bulls from liquidation, it was revealed last night.
The Bradford South MP and Mr Khan, who runs Omar Khan’s Indian restaurants in Bradford and Skipton, will meet administrator Brendan Guilfoyle this afternoon to discuss making a last-ditch offer for the stricken rugby league club before tomorrow’s deadline.
Mr Guilfoyle, of The P&A Partnership, announced on Tuesday that a formal bid for the Super League club, thought to be worth more than £2.5m, had been submitted by a consortium of Asian businessmen known as ABC.
But Mr Sutcliffe, who has been appointed honorary chairman of Mr Khan’s bid, last night told the Telegraph & Argus they planned to table a rival offer for an undisclosed sum. He said: “The club is so important to the city. It’s more important than just a rugby league club – it’s part of our heritage in Bradford.
“We want to make sure it’s saved.”
The deal on the table, funded by Mr Khan, would hold similar conditions to those of ABC’s offer – the club retaining its Super League status and the new buyers getting the lease back from the RFL for Odsal Stadium. The RFL has previously said it is not able to consider conditional offers for the club.
But Mr Sutcliffe said: “The bid aims to achieve three things – to create a sustainable future for the club, development of the stadium and to develop the site in the way we have all thought about in the past.
“The third point is a long-term plan to work with the fans about how we can develop the site to attract as many people as possible.
“That would happen over a period of time and something that would involve working with partners.”
He revealed he and Mr Khan had met representatives from Bradford Council and the restaurant boss’s offer would rely on some Council support to help the club achieve a break-even position within three to five years.
The MP said: “What we see is a viable club with fans that turned out in great numbers in the matches against London and Leeds. The Super League needs a big club like Bradford.”
Mr Sutcliffe, who plans to meet fans with Mr Khan in the next few days, said he was aware of ABC’s bid and “wished it well”.
But he added: “I mean that in the sense of if they can deliver.
“I think we need a number of bids to make sure we get to the right end.”
The administrators have until tomorrow to find a buyer or the club faces liquidation, although Mr Guilfoyle has previously indicated the deadline could be extended.