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Bradford Bulls’ Super League spot secured by RFL funding cut
Bradford Bulls’ new owners will sacrifice a “sizeable” chunk of its £1.2 million funding from the RFL as part of the rescue deal that secured its future in the Super League next season, it has been revealed.
Former Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, honorary chairman of restaurant boss Omar Khan’s OK Bulls, confirmed the new Bulls company will forgo a substantial portion of its central funding from the governing body in a deal which saw it offered a probationary licence to stay in the top flight for the next 12 months.
It is believed Bradford South MP Mr Sutcliffe and Mr Khan, who saved the crisis-torn club from the brink of administration on August 31, were told rival Super League sides were not happy for them to continue playing in the competition unless they gave up part of their share of the annual £1.2 million Sky television distribution cash paid to each club.
The outfit’s former owners, Bradford Bulls Holdings, entered administration on June 26 after running up debts of about £1.5 million, and RFL director of standards and licensing Blake Solly had previously said other clubs would expect the new owners to pay off the “moral debt”.
Mr Sutcliffe insisted the loss of the cash wouldn’t affect its ability to spend up to the Super League salary cap, but told the Telegraph & Argus: “It’s true to say that we have given up some of our central funding to guarantee Super League status and it’s likely to be a sizeable portion.”
The RFL advanced £241,881 to administrator Brendan Guilfoyle to ensure players’ wages were paid while Bradford Bulls Holdings was in administration.
Mr Khan, sole director of OK Bulls Limited, and owner of restaurants in Bradford and Skipton , said the loss of the money would “sting” but Super League status was vital.
“Every month we have money going out without this money coming in, and that will hurt. It will sting, but we needed to stay in the Super League – for the club and for the city.”
Mr Sutcliffe said sacrificing the cash meant it was even more important the club sells season tickets and secures sponsorship deals.
He added: “It’s disappointing that we are in the situation we are in, but it was part of keeping the club in Super League. We need to keep our momentum going.”