Gerry Sutcliffe is delighted at 'flurry' of offers to help the Bulls (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Gerry Sutcliffe is delighted at 'flurry' of offers to help the Bulls
Bradford Bulls’ owners say they have received a flurry of offers of help to build the “Wembley of the North” at Odsal – but cannot yet make plans.
Former Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, who is honorary chairman of Bradford restaurant boss Omar Khan’s OK Bulls Limited, said a number of people had been in touch with suggestions to turn the side’s stadium into a seven-day-a-week, 365-day-a year venue – with proposals on the table including a hairdressers, cafe and museum.
But the Bradford South MP said he and Mr Khan would not be in a position to respond to anyone or form a concrete business plan until the Rugby Football League (RFL) ratifies the change of ownership and decides if the four-time Super League champions can continue to play in the top-flight.
Mr Sutcliffe told the Telegraph & Argus: “We had hoped we would hear whether we have been granted RFL membership at the start of this week but we’re still waiting to hear from them. It’s a concern, but they’re going through the processes.
“Omar is working away to get things moving and looking at business plans, but we can’t do a great deal until we know that our Super League status is secure.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the people wanting to help us achieve our vision of building the Wembley of the North, I think people are relishing the opportunity to use the site at its full potential, but we can’t say anything to them until we know what’s happening.”
An RFL spokesman said a decision on whether to grant the new owners membership of the governing body is expected to be made during a conference call today, but it had yet to reveal the process for choosing a 14th Super League side.
It has previously been suggested that a mini round of licensing could take place, with Championship sides Leigh, Featherstone and Halifax mooted as potential contenders to replace Bulls, but the spokesman it had yet to decide how a decision will be made.
If a licensing process takes place, is believed much of whether the Bulls' application is successful will depend on the new owners’ ability to take the club forward and counter suggestions that entering administration has given it a competitive advantage.
To offset that, Bulls could forego some of its central distribution, such as television cash, sponsorship funds and revenue from the play-off matches and Grand Finals, over the next two years.
However, Championship clubs would only have a short period to put an application together proving they are ready and have plans in place to step up to the Super League.
The governing body spokesman said other Super League clubs had indicated they want it to remain a 14-team competition. “It may be a Championship club wants to contest the 14th Super League spot,” he added.
“After Friday, the board will make a decision on what should happen.”