BRADFORD Bulls have been left devastated after not being granted an Elite Academy Licence, plunging the future of some of the city's brightest young talents into doubt.

The Bulls Academy has a rich history, with the likes of Leon Pryce, Sam Burgess, John Bateman and many more coming through it and thriving at the highest level.

But with Bulls unable to reapply for an Elite Licence until 2024, and only unable to operate a lesser Development Academy in the meantime, the future of rugby league in Bradford is in trouble.

In a statement on their club website, Bulls said: "Bradford Bulls are incredibly shocked, disappointed and perplexed by this morning's decision not to grant the club an Elite Academy Licence.

"We are struggling to understand any RFL strategy that apparently prevents young Bradford players playing for Bradford.

"The decision, if left to stand, is immensely damaging to the sport, the city and the welfare of 90 plus young players and staff.

"The club has not received any detailed feedback at this stage, so will be reserving our position until that is received, and we have a better understanding as to why the RFL believe an extremely productive line of young talent can be laid to waste.

"In the meantime, head of youth Leigh Beattie and his extremely talented group of coaches and players will turn out with immense pride in the red, amber and black against Hull FC tomorrow at 2pm."

The 10 clubs awarded Elite Academy Licences for 2022-27 are: Catalans Dragons, Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos, London Broncos, Newcastle Thunder, St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors.

Like Bulls, Castleford and Hull KR have not been granted an Elite Academy Licence for that six-season period either.

The 2021 Academy season, which began in a revised format last weekend following delays enforced by Covid-19, will continue as scheduled.