CHRIS Brereton is OUT of the running to buy the Bradford Bulls.

The former Wakefield director has been heading the consortium negotiating with chairman Andrew Chalmers to take over the cash-stricken club.

But Brereton spoke to staff this morning to confirm that he would be withdrawing from talks.

In a statement issued to the Telegraph & Argus, he apologised to Bulls fans for pulling out.

Brereton said: “Over the weekend, I have decided to withdraw from the consortium looking to save Bradford Bulls.

“I have offered to help both the consortium and the Rugby League (RFL) moving forward.

"I would like to thank the RFL for their help and advice during this process and Simon Hustler of Charters solicitors for his guidance.

“Finally, I would like to apologise to all the fans of Bradford Bulls for not being able to help, and wish you, any new owners of the club, success in the future.”

Brereton’s decision to step away follows weeks of discussions to do a deal for a club understood to be more than £500,000 in debt.

He had voiced his frustration over the delay in filing accounts with Companies House, which had prevented any possible agreement going through.

The Bulls will still stage this week’s planned fans forums with the rest of the consortium at Tetley’s Stadium.

A statement from the group following Brereton's exit said: “We would like to thank Chris for all his hard work over the past weeks, moving the club into a position where a transition can take place from Andrew and the previous board to new investors.

“We are sure it was a very difficult decision for Chris and we thoroughly understand and respect his reasons for standing down from the consortium at this time.

"Although Chris stepping down is disappointing, it won’t affect the resolve of the remaining group and we are hopeful of some positive news at the first fans forum tomorrow night.

“We look forward to speaking with all the fans who have managed to secure a ticket for either tomorrow or Wednesday night’s fans forums.”