Bradford administrator pleads for support to buy more time

 

Bradford Bulls are still clinging to their precarious existence, but will only survive into next month if the Rugby League helps to pay the players' wages. Time was scheduled to run out for the debt-ridden club at the close of business yesterday, but liquidation has been delayed while negotiations continue with one of two interested consortiums.

"If the RFL can help me buy a little time, I can try to bring an acceptable bid to the table," said the joint administrator, Brendan Guilfoyle. "The only way I can take the Bulls into next month is if the RFL help by paying the players' wages."

The Rugby League rejected one bid from the so-called ABC group of local Asian businessmen this week, calling it "unreasonable and unrealistic" that the consortium had set conditions and demanded a guaranteed Super League place and the right to buy back Odsal, which is currently owned by the RFL.

The league's director of standards and licensing, Blake Solly, said a revised offer from that consortium had been received. "The RFL will continue to work with the administrator to achieve our joint aim of finding a new owner," he said.

Before that statement yesterday afternoon, a potential rival bid had emerged, fronted by the MP for Bradford South and former minister for sport, Gerry Sutcliffe.

"The club is so important to the city," Sutcliffe said. "It's more than a rugby league club, it's part of our heritage in Bradford and we want to make sure it's saved."

Their game at Warrington tomorrow is scheduled to go ahead, with the Wolves donating the away fans' share of the gate to Bradford.

The Bulls' coach, Mick Potter, who has been working in a voluntary capacity since being made redundant by the administrator earlier this month, has ruled himself out of the impending vacancy at the London Broncos. The Broncos demoted Rob Powell and brought in Tony Rea this week as interim coach with a brief to find a long-term successor.

Potter has won widespread admiration for the calm dignity with which he has handled the Bulls' situation and has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the notoriously difficult London job. But Potter said he will either stay at Odsal or return to Australia. "I haven't looked at the Broncos job and I don't plan to do so," he said.

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