Clubs split over whether Bradford Bulls should stay in Super League

Clubs in the Super League are split over whether Bradford Bulls should be allowed to stay in the competition, according to the Rugby Football League.

The deadline for the club to find a new buyer was extended last Tuesday by the administrators until 27 July.

RFL licensing director Blake Solly told BBC Sport: "There is a variety of opinion among the other clubs.

"But any decision as to whether Bradford will be allowed to stay in Super League is for the RFL board."

A group of local businessmen are keen to buy the four-time Super League winners, who went into administration last month.

Administrator Brendan Guilfoyle warned that the deal would be dependent on the RFL and the 13 other Super League clubs consenting to allow the club to remain in the top division and permitting the new owners to buy back their ground.

He said on Tuesday: "For the deal to go through we need the RFL to agree to us remaining in the top division and buying the ground back from them.

"We need the other clubs to agree that Super League is a poorer place without us."

Bradford Bulls crisis timeline

  • 27 March - Then-chairman Peter Hood announces the club need £1m to stay afloat after the bank changes the conditions of their overdraft, with the first £500,000 needed within 10 days.
  • 10 April - Having extended the deadline the club reach initial target.
  • 9 May - Hood steps down ahead of an EGM where he was likely to face a no confidence vote.
  • 2 June - Director Stephen Coulby reveals the club's debt is worse than first feared and that £1.25m is needed to get the club to the end of the season.
  • 14 June - Handed a winding-up order over unpaid tax.
  • 26 June - Bulls enter administration with Guilfoyle saying they have 10 working days to save themselves from "extinction".
  • 2 July - Entire coaching staff are among 16 employees made redundant.
  • 4 July - Head coach Mick Potter and the other coaches return to the club for free.
  • 10 July - Guilfoyle extends the deadline for when the club needs to have a new buyer to 27 July.

Solly added that he was confident that the club would survive even if they had to drop into the Championship.

"There has been some consultation with the clubs already, but the ultimate decision maker will be the RFL," said Solly.

"Some clubs support the idea of Bradford staying in the league while others take a more hardline view.

"They would prefer to see them outside because leaving them in would impact on the integrity of the competition.

"But whether in the Super League or Championship, the passion of supporters in the past few months shows you that professional Rugby League has a big future in Bradford."

The economic future of Rugby League has been questioned after a year which has seen Wakefield go into administration and Welsh club Crusaders leave Super League over money issues.

But Solly believes clubs which are well run can continue to flourish.

He said: "We believe there is a viable economic model for a 14-club Super League. You just have to manage your club very well.

"When the licences were announced last year it was clear that if a club failed during the licence period the licence was in danger of being revoked.

"Bradford have failed so they have brought themselves into that area.

"What we've tried to do is create an environment that allows good clubs to succeed. Unfortunately some clubs like Bradford haven't done that."