Bradford Bulls lose six points as new deal hits snag

Club tumble outside play-off places and takeover remains dogged by problems

If new owners take over the ailing Bradford Bulls before tomorrow's liquidation deadline, they will be inheriting a club which has just taken a sudden lurch down the Super League table.

The Bulls were yesterday docked six competition points for going into administration last month. That punishment will have come as no surprise to them, although both Wakefield and Crusaders "got away" with four-point deductions before the start of the 2011 season, because new owners undertook to pay off some of their debts.

"We are not yet in a position to be able to offer any recompense to our creditors and as such a six-point deduction was what we expected," said the Bulls' interim chief executive, Gary Tasker.

The immediate effect on Bradford is that they drop to ninth in the Super League table, outside the play-offs for a fourth consecutive year. That is despite winning three of their four matches since they went into administration and the full extent of their problems became apparent.

They have not given up hope of extending their season, however. "We are still in the competition and a place in the top eight is still within our grasp," Tasker said.

The joint administrator, Brendan Guilfoyle, says he has an offer on the table from the so-called ABC consortium of Asian businessmen, headed by the Akbar's chain of restaurants.

That offer is now being scrutinised in detail by the Rugby Football League, but it is already known to involve two potential sticking points. The group wants to buy back Odsal Stadium, bought by the RFL in what now looks clearly like a defensive stratagem earlier this year.

Many Bulls' fans would be wary of that plan, if it enabled new owners to sell Odsal for redevelopment and move in with Bradford City at Valley Parade, on the other side of a geographically polarised city.

The other item on the wish list is the guarantee of a Super League place. In one sense, the Bulls already have that; in another, they can never have it. In the absence of promotion into and relegation from Super League, Bradford are in the competition by virtue of a three-year licence, starting this season.

That licence can be rescinded at any time, if a club fails to come up to scratch, so it can hardly be termed a guarantee.

Besides, the whole relegation debate is back on the agenda following the publication last week of a report from the RFL's acting chairman, Maurice Watkins. There is no longer a clear consensus that a system of licensing is necessarily the way forward, although one of the arguments advanced in its favour is that it encourages investment because of the imperfect degree of certainty it provides.

Bradford's next game is scheduled for Sunday at Warrington. The home side has followed the lead of Leeds last weekend by contributing the proceeds of ticket sales to Bulls' fans to their club's coffers.

That is indicative of the general goodwill towards Bradford. Although some will remember being lectured by the Bulls on the way to run a Super League club, there is – unlike the case of Rangers in Scotland – no appetite to see them grovel in the lower leagues. There will be those thinking that "there but for fortune go we." Only last week, Salford were forced to issue a denial that they were about to enter administration and there are other precarious operations.

One near certainty is that, in the current climate, Bradford will not be the last to feel the buffeting of the elements. If they do not come through, it will be all the harder for whoever comes next.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'