THE Bulls will ask for help from rugby league’s £16 million rescue package as they brace themselves for “substantial” losses.

Chief executive Mark Sawyer confirmed that the club will be joining those forced to go to the RFL for a hand-out to help them survive the coming months without any income.

The emergency bail-out loan was announced by the government at the end of April. The deadline for clubs to apply to the governing body is understood to be the end of next week.

With the Championship and below facing the nightmare prospect of up to six more months without being able to play, Sawyer admitted the Bulls have no choice.

He said: “We need it as a fall-back.

“We’ve left it until the last minute but we are going to apply. It’s fair to say the vast majority of clubs are doing the same.

“We need the money to tie us over. The RFL have a figure in mind for each club depending on how much COVID has affected them.

“Everybody was hoping we’d return in October and we’d still need a safety net because things weren’t what they were.

“Now we’re told there’s probably going to be nothing up to March. Most clubs have survived up to now but the gas has been turned up.

“Furlough has nearly gone and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel of when we’re going to play again.”

The furlough scheme to protect staff runs out at the end of the month. It is then replaced by the job retention bonus – which will pay a far lower percentage of wages.

With no sign of a return date, the RFL have warned clubs of the “worst-case scenario”.

Sawyer added: “They’ve told us to prepare that at best you’re going to be playing from April and they might not be able to fit in all the games.

“But they also said that by hook or crook, somebody will be promoted to Super League as long as we play a fair number of matches.

“We’ve got staff on part-time furlough now but most of the time they are still not working.

“We’re on the job retention scheme from next month at nowhere near furlough rates. It’s a battle.

“From next month, we will be losing substantial money like all clubs.”

The Bulls had hoped to take part in an autumn tournament this month but that was scrapped. Hopes of starting the 2021 season earlier were also dashed after the government’s plan to allow crowds back at sporting events was put “on pause”.

“Everything has been put at a total standstill again and we’re in the hands of the government,” added Sawyer.

“Clubs have literally nothing coming in and nobody is in a position to put season-tickets on sale at the moment because it’s not the right thing to do. Everybody has had their confidence knocked.

“Without failure, it’s going to be three months. A sensible approach would be to budget on not getting any income for six months up to the end of March.

“But you can’t even guarantee we’re going to return then.

“The Bradford model is based on season-ticket income from September up to the first match. Then your game-day receipts kick in."