Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Bradford Bulls chief Gary Tasker paints sorry picture as he details wider implications of crisis
Gary Tasker has revealed the Bulls’ financial meltdown has had a “devastating effect” on the club and left them “paralysed” as they continue to search desperately for a buyer.
The crisis-torn club have been in administration for the past month and Tasker said the consequences had been severely damaging both on and off the field.
The Bulls were this week deducted six points for entering administration, dealing a major blow to their play-off hopes, but Tasker revealed the ramifications had already gone far deeper.
He conceded the financial plight had seen the club’s reputation take a severe battering and caused the loss of goodwill from a number of suppliers, while a number of clubs are understood to be opposed to the Bulls staying in Super League even if they manage to find a buyer.
Tasker said the mass redundancies made by administrator Brendan Guilfoyle had hit the club hard, causing great upset and leaving just a skeleton workforce at Odsal .
The interim chief executive said he realised how far the club had sunk when they had no paint for the pitch heading into the recent visit of London Broncos – only for rivals Leeds to provide a helping hand.
We are paralysed as an organisation in terms of player recruitment and retentionGary Tasker
Tasker told the T&A: “I think it’s important that everybody understands the wider consequences of the Bulls’ current situation, which are extremely serious and damaging.
“The results of the points deduction are clear to see and the playing squad must be shattered after so much of their hard work and commitment has been wiped away at a stroke.
“But there is also a tremendous human cost and it’s fair to say the scenario is having a devastating effect in many other areas.
“There are, of course, the personal and financial consequences for all the players. They are professional athletes so the uncertainty around their future and their livelihoods is hugely upsetting and disturbing for them.”
Seventeen players are out of contract at the end of the season and Tasker added: “The Bulls are paralysed as an organisation in terms of player recruitment and retention.
“All other clubs are in the process of contracting their squads for the 2013 season.
“They are also able to sign and begin developing junior players, which is critically important for the wider health of rugby league.
“The Bulls cannot do any of this given the current uncertainty around the club’s future.
“Also, 16 members of the club’s off-field staff have been made redundant. They now have no job and must deal with the personal financial consequences.
“It’s also important to consider those staff still with the club. They must now shoulder a tremendous burden and are faced with a huge workload as well as a great deal of upset.”
Tasker, the club’s former general manager between 1982 and 2000, returned to Odsal earlier this month on a voluntary basis in the week leading up to the home game with London.
He revealed: “There has been huge reputational damage to the club and the Bulls brand, which at one point was held up as a flagship for the Super League and was gaining wider recognition outside the sport.
“Now, the club’s suppliers and creditors do not view it in the same way and its previously very positive standing among local businesses has been lost.
“The same situation is also preventing the club from seeking new sponsors and partners.
“We cannot yet begin the process of rebuilding the club commercially because of the current state of limbo and uncertainty over our future.
“I realised we had hit rock bottom when we had to go cap in hand to Leeds for pitch paint to get the London game on – it doesn't get any more frustrating or humiliating than that!
“I sincerely hope the situation can be positively resolved very soon and a process can begin to rebuild the Bulls’ reputation and the club’s vitally important business structures.”