RFL lay out terms for Bradford's bidders

Any new owners of a revived Bradford would have to provide personal guarantees that the team will fulfil all their fixtures over the next three years.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 5th January 2017, 9:16 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 11:40 am
Leon Pryce
Leon Pryce

The Rugby Football League, which has set a deadline of noon on Monday to receive offers to set up a new club, took the unusual step of making public its demands and the process potential new owners will have to go through to meet them.

After witnessing Bradford go into administration three times in five years, the most recent one with dire consequences, the governing body appears keen to ensure that any new owners have sufficient funds to guarantee the club’s future, at least in the medium term.

The document, which the RFL has sent to around 10 interested parties, calls for bidders to submit a three-year budget forecast along with proof of supporting funds by their deadline.

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The RFL also wants to know if prospective buyers are willing to show goodwill by recognising the 1,000 season tickets purchased by Bulls fans before the club went bust and pay off around £50,000 in debts to local creditors.

The RFL has said it would be willing to restore Bradford’s membership if a suitable owners are found and allow a new team to continue in the Championship in 2017 with a 12-point deduction and a reduced funding of £150,000, compared to the £275,000 the club were due.

It is thought the league will use remaining £125,000 to help relieve any hardship suffered by the players, who were still owed their December wages when the administrators put the club into liquidation.

Among the demands which must reach RFL headquarters by midday on Monday are:

A business plan to ideally include a three-year budget forecast and proof of funds.

Details of the experience the individuals have in running rugby league clubs and/or other sporting clubs.

Proposals relating to the recruitment of players and coaching staff in order to be ready to start the 2017 season on time and whether the squad will be full or part time.

Completed fit and proper person forms for each proposed influential person.

Confirmation that the directors or shareholders of the new company are prepared to provide personal guarantees that the club will complete its fixtures in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Any further assurances such as the provision of a financial bond repayable to the club over the next three years.

Former New Zealand RL chairman Andrew Chalmers and London businessman Richard Lamb, who both fronted bids for the old club which were rejected by the administrators, are among those interested in forming a new club.

Australian coach Rohan Smith has indicated his willingness to stay on but the break-up of the team continued yesterday with back-row forward Alex Mellor joining Huddersfield and former Hull KR centre Kris Welham signing for Salford.

They take the number of confirmed departures from Bradford to four in the 48 hours since the club went into liquidation, rendering all the players free agents.

Former Wakefield Trinity centre Jason Walton has moved to Featherstone and Tom Olbison has signed for Super League club Widnes while James Clare joined Leigh Centurions yesterday and Adam Sidlow is also thought to have lined up a move away from Odsal.

Clubs have been given special dispensation on their salary cap to sign players from Bradford, who may well have to look to the loan market to build a team for their opening Championship match at Hull KR on February 5 if the club is re-formed.

One player keen to stay on is former Great Britain stand-off Leon Pryce, who rejoined his home-town club in the close season after spells at St Helens, Catalans Dragons and Hull.

Pryce told former Bulls team-mate Robbie Hunter-Paul on his radio show: “Absolutely I’d still like to be involved.

“I’m a Bradford lad and I still live locally.

“We need to redevelop this club. We need a Bradford Bulls.”