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That licence can be rescinded at any time, if a club fails to come up to scratch, so it can hardly be termed a guarantee.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

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future