BRADFORD Bulls’ acting chief executive, Mark Sawyer, says the club are intending to be back at Odsal come what may for next season, but he admits the prospect of stock cars joining them there is an enticing one.

Bulls and the RFL have agreed in principle to promoter Steve Rees’ proposal to have stock cars back racing at Odsal from next Easter, for the first time since 1997.

But that does need ratifying at an RFL board meeting next Thursday.

Sawyer also confirmed that there would be a 16 per cent drop in central funding for Championship clubs in 2021 and uncertainty around finances in the second tier for 2022 and beyond make the race for Super League even more important.

Discussing the prospect of Bulls sharing Odsal with stock cars next season, Sawyer said: “It’s important to utilise the stadium to its fullest if we can get back.

“The RFL and ourselves have agreed in principle to having stock cars race there but we (Bulls) still need to strike a deal with the RFL about our own plans to come back to Odsal and we’re hoping to get that sorted in the next few weeks.

“We’re intending to come back whatever happens with the stock cars, but it’s important to get all those sub-leases in place if we can, as that will make it more affordable.”

Odsal has gone unused since Bulls played their last home game of the 2019 Championship season there against the Sheffield Eagles 15 months ago.

Asked what is required to make the famous old stadium viable for both rugby league and stock cars in a few months, Sawyer said: “A lot of work needs to be done.

“The terracing needs sorting and the ground needs making safe to use.

“The Southbank Suite needs money put into it quickly so there is a bit of investment required, but it’s going well so far.

“All sorts needs looking at to make it affordable so it’s good news to have another sport having a vision and making exciting plans to use the stadium.

“We’ve had all the costings thoroughly done so we know what we’re looking at.

“We’ve not signed a deal with the RFL yet and we need to keep the council in the loop, but it’s all going at quite a pace now, having being slowed down by Covid earlier in the year.”

Amid all the excitement of a potential return to Odsal for stock cars and rugby league, there is concerning financial news for the latter, regarding second-tier clubs.

Sawyer explained: “Central funding is going down by 16 per cent for Championship clubs in the 2021 season.

“From 2022, when the new funding circle comes around, there’s not yet any money guaranteed for Championship clubs.

“That in itself is an incentive to try and get into Super League.

“We want to be back in Super League anyway, regardless of whether we get that spare spot for 2021 or not.

“But obviously there’s great cases out there for the other clubs, so it’s not a straightforward decision on who gets it.”