BRADFORD head coach Mick Potter described the decision to dock the Bulls six points for breaching the game’s insolvency regulations as a “kick in the stomach”.
The ailing Super League club had been bracing themselves for today’s announcement since entering administration on June 26 but Potter insists it is harsh on the players.
The points deduction takes immediate effect and drops the Bulls out of the play-off positions, from seventh to ninth, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Warrington, with Huddersfield and Hull KR moving above them in the table.
Bradford have won three of their last four matches despite the massive uncertainty over the club’s future to raise hopes of a top-eight finish for the first time in four years.
“It’s disappointing,” said Potter, who is working on a voluntary basis after being among 16 full-time staff made redundant by administrator Brendan Guilfoyle last month.
“It’s no surprise. We understood that’s what happens when you go into administration, it’s part of the process for this type of thing.
“But it’s a massive kick in the stomach for the players, who have done all they possibly could to get results, and also the fans, who have done over and above what they had to do.
“It’s just disappointing, sitting on the sidelines waiting for your punishment, especially when you’ve not instigated any of it.”
Bradford received the maximum penalty laid down in the Rugby Football League’s operational rules.
The RFL board of directors exercised some flexibility by docking Wakefield and Crusaders four points when they entered administration on the eve of the 2011 season after taking into account the new owners’ willingness to pay off some of the debts to creditors.
Although Guilfoyle has found a potential buyer, any deal is some way off being completed.
He yesterday passed on details of a formal, written offer from the ABC consortium, a group of local Asian businessmen, to the RFL but it is conditional on them being able to buy back the lease to Odsal Stadium and receiving a guarantee on the Bulls remaining in Super League.
He has until this Friday to avoid putting the club into liquidation, although he has the option of a further extension of the deadline if he feels he can complete a deal.
Meanwhile Potter has paid tribute to Warrington for their decision to hand over all proceeds from away-ticket sales for Sunday’s game.
“It’s a fantastic gesture,” Potter said. “It shows what Bradford means to the competition. People want Bradford to be in Super League.”
Warrington are following the example of Leeds, who donated money from away-ticket sales for last Friday’s derby to Bradford, while Widnes made a similar gesture earlier this season.
The Wolves are putting the cash from Sunday’s game directly into the hardship fund which was set up by fans to provide help to the Bradford staff who were laid off.
Potter, whose wife Megan was also made redundant, admits any financial assistance would be welcome but says it cannot be a long-term solution.
“It will be a good outcome for some people to secure a bit of income,” he said.
“But you can’t be expecting handouts from every single team we play. It’s admirable but long-term Bradford want to be standing on their own two feet.”
A spokesman for BullBuilder, the Bradford supporters trust who set up the hardship fund which is being administered by club pastor Warren Evans, said they have received in excess of £2,500 in anonymous donations from fans so far.