THE lease on the iconic Odsal Stadium, home to the Bradford Bulls, is up for sale.

The stadium, which opened in 1934, is currently leased by the Rugby Football League Ltd (RFL) on a 150-year term from Bradford Council on a peppercorn rent.

Bradford Bulls has confirmed that they do not believe the move poses “any immediate threat to the club’s occupancy” of the stadium and they fully expect to play all home fixtures at the stadium in 2024.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An aerial view of Odsal Stadium in BradfordAn aerial view of Odsal Stadium in Bradford (Image: Knight Frank)

Jonathan Hyland, partner with Knight Frank in Leeds, who is advising the RFL on the sale, said: “This is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to acquire one of the most famous sporting stadia in Yorkshire. Odsal has a wonderful history and is one of the jewels in the crown of the city of Bradford.

“We expect a good deal of interest in this sale, given Odsal’s reputation, high-profile and location. Once a preferred buyer has been chosen, they will be granted a period of exclusivity during which they will be required to agree terms for a formal lease with the Bradford Bulls.”

Bradford Bulls CEO, Jason Hirst said: “We are aware that the RFL are now seeking expressions of interest to potentially sell their leasehold of Odsal Stadium and we understand their reasons for this; particularly with the new IMG grading system being introduced, which puts significant obligations on stadium owners.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jason HirstJason Hirst

“We have been continually reassured that the RFL’s primary objective has always been the protection of professional rugby league in Bradford and this was and has been repeated once again as part of this potential sale process.

“Given those assurances, we don’t, therefore, believe there is any immediate threat to the club’s occupancy of Odsal Stadium and as such, fully expect the club to play all of its’ home fixtures at the stadium in 2024.

“Rest assured; the club will continue to liaise with the RFL and Bradford Metropolitan District Council and keep its supporters appropriately updated on any developments.

“In the meantime, everyone at our club remains fully committed to building towards and delivering another successful on and off-field season in 2024.”

Robert Graham, the RFL’s director of finance, facilities and central services, said: “The RFL purchased Odsal in January 2012 because of a specific set of circumstances, which at the time involved a real danger that an historic venue for Rugby League could be lost to the sport.

“This was never envisaged as a permanent position for a national governing body, and after acting as custodians for more than a decade, and with two tenants in Bradford Bulls and Odsal Motorsports Ltd, the circumstances have now developed sufficiently to explore options for sale.”

In addition to the Bulls, Odsal Motorsport Ltd has a licence running until 2041, allowing them to host up to 20 events per annum. The current combined income from the two occupiers is approximately £125,000 per annum.

The Bulls sold the lease on the stadium to the RFL for a seven-figure sum in January 2012 as the governing body recovered a loan it had made to the club.

They have since paid rent to the RFL and the freehold to the site is still owned by Bradford Council.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Odsal StadiumOdsal Stadium (Image: Newsquest)

Local MP Judith Cummins told the Telegraph & Argus: “Fans are still beaming as the Bulls celebrate their highest league position in eight years. But the news regarding the lease at Odsal will bring worry for the club and fans who fought so hard to bring the Bulls back to Bradford.

“It is becoming clear that the city has a choice to make: whether or not we are prepared to continue to work together to support elite sport in the city. I will continue to do all I can to support the Bulls in Bradford.”

Paul Butterworth of the Bradford Bulls Supporters Trust, which supports the academy, said: “It’s vital that we can stop in Bradford and have that security long-term.

“We hope the lease is taken on by somebody who would support the playing of rugby league at Odsal.”

He added: “In recent years the amount of people that worked to get the Bulls back to Bradford with support from local MPs and the Council – it was fantastic. It would have been a big loss to the area.”

YorStox, the promoter of stock car racing at at Bradford, issued a statement in the name of Graeme Robson and Russell Andrew.

It read: "YorStox are aware that there are articles in circulation regarding the future of Odsal Stadium and we would like to re assure everyone that racing will continue for sure in 2024 as planned.

"We thank everyone for their continued support and if there is any further update YorStox will provide that directly."