Consortium set to make Bradford Bulls offer


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The Independent Online

A consortium of Asian businessmen will submit a bid to buy Bradford Bulls tomorrow, according to the club's administrator Brendan Guilfoyle.

The group of local businessmen, known as the ABC consortium, have been in talks with both Guilfoyle and the Rugby Football League for just over a week and are now in a position to make a formal offer.

"I'm expecting an offer tomorrow from the ABC consortium," Guilfoyle told Press Association Sport.

"Whether it is acceptable to me and the RFL remains to be seen.

"But they seem intent on buying the club and I'm hopeful."

However, the consortium's offer will be conditional on the club remaining in Super League and buying back the lease to Odsal Stadium from the RFL, both of which remain potential stumbling blocks.

"It's never straightforward in sport," added Guilfoyle.

"I will receive a conditional offer and then there will be an application for the Super League franchise to be transferred to a new company."

Bradford, the four-times Super League champions who have been in decline since 2005, went into administration last month after finding themselves unable to pay wages and running costs.

Guilfoyle made 16 full-time staff redundant in a major cost-cutting exercise, although most have since returned to work on a voluntary basis which enabled their last home game against London Broncos to go ahead.

The RFL advanced the club their latest instalment of money from the Sky television deal to enable Guilfoyle to pay the players' monthly wages before last weekend and to extend his deadline to find a buyer to July 27.

The Bulls, who sold the ground lease for around £1.25million to pay off debts in January, effectively forfeited the Super League licence they were awarded last July by going into administration.

The RFL are committed to ensuring the club continue in Super League to the end of the season but are unlikely to be able to guarantee they will keep their licence for 2013, with the remaining 13 Super League clubs having a say in the matter

Bradford head coach Mick Potter, who is among those working without pay, said he came away from a meeting with a representative of the consortium more optimistic that the club can be saved.

"Things looked positive," he said. "I spoke only about football and not the whole business.

"I don't know where they're at or whether they're going to make an offer. I just put my point of view forward from the football department.

"The guy was very positive and I was happy I had the meeting. I feel more comfortable but I think there's a few hurdles to be jumped yet.

"When someone invites you to a meeting you feel wanted and I did feel better about things afterwards."

Potter has made it clear that he would love to see out his contract, which expires at the end of the season, and has not ruled out staying on beyond this year.

However, he admits his bank balance is running low and he is continuing to search out jobs back home in Australia.

"What we're doing is not sustainable," said Potter, whose wife Megan was also made redundant by the club.

"I'm not going to re-mortgage my house to help Bradford. As much as I love the club and want them to be successful, I'm not going to do that.

"But in the short term I'll do what I can to help out.

"Probably at the end of the month I'll have to make a call on it. I think I'll be alright until then and then I'll see what I need to do to get back to Oz.

"Something is going to have to change very soon but I'll worry about that later."

Meanwhile, Potter says the club are bracing themselves for a points deduction, which could happen when the RFL's board of directors next meet on Friday.

The normal penalty would be a six-point deduction, although both Wakefield and Crusaders were docked four when they went into administration on the eve of the 2011 season after agreeing to make payments to creditors.

"I'd love for it not to happen," Potter said. "Whatever is going to happen will happen, you just need to try and get your two points that week."

The Bulls will be without second-rower John Bateman for Friday's derby at Leeds as he sets off the day before on the England academy tour of Australia.

But Australian half-back Jarrod Sammut will return after missing the last match with a knee injury and wingers Jason Crookes and Elliott Kear are also available after recovering from long-term injury.