Bradford Bulls: RFL rejects revised offer for club

 

The Rugby Football League has rejected the second bid submitted by the ABC consortium for Bradford Bulls.

An original conditional bid was rejected last Thursday before a second bid was submitted on Friday.

It is believed the consortium want assurances over the club's Super League future as well as being allowed to buy back the club's Odsal ground.

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.
  • 19 July - ABC consortium of local businessmen submits conditional bid for club.
  • 25 July - RFL deducts club six points for entering administration.
  • 26 July - RFL rejects bid from the ABC consortium for the Bulls.
  • 27 July - ABC consortium launches second conditional bid.
  • 1 August - Bid is rejected with RFL reiterating their position that any bid for the club must be unconditional.

Meanwhile, the RFL is continuing to talk to the club's administrators about funding the players' wages for August.

"We have been consistent that we are unable to consider any offers which comes with strings attached," RFL director of licensing Blake Solly said.

"It is disappointing that the ABC consortium are still unable to submit an unconditional offer."

When the initial bid was placed, administrator Brendan Guilfoyle warned that he could not envisage any consortium being willing to purchase the club if there was a chance it would not be in the top flight next season.

He said at the time: "The best the RFL will get is a conditional bid. The consortium I'm dealing with won't move forward with the club in the second tier. It would be a totally different business model.

"I'm here to save the Bradford Bulls as a Super League club."

The Bulls have been in administration for over a month, having entered it on 26 June when efforts to raise £1m to keep the club afloat proved unsuccessful.

On Monday, Solly voiced concerns about the second bid being a conditional one, saying he did not expect the board to accept it.

He reiterated that any offer for the club would have to be unconditional and cast doubt on the details of the bids placed for the club so far.

"The position with Bradford Bulls is identical to that faced by Widnes Vikings and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, who were taken out of administration in 2007 and 2011, respectively, by new owners without any guarantee as to which competition they would be playing in," he added.

"All enquirers have been informed that the RFL is only interested in receiving offers for Bradford Bulls which are free from any condition pertaining to competition membership or the re-acquisition of Odsal Stadium.

"The ABC consortium have also been informed that any unconditional offer would also have to be accompanied by a detailed business plan, the identity of all material shareholders and proposed directors and the appropriate proof that the required levels of funding are in place.

"Unfortunately the ABC consortium have been unable to supply any of the above information, leaving the RFL with no option but to deem the offer unacceptable."

Earlier on Wednesday the acting chairman of the Bulls had appealed to the RFL to give the club some clarity on what division they are likely to be in next season.

Stephen Coulby said the uncertainty over the club's future was putting off potential investors and was unfair on current employees.

"If the club is at best to be a Championship club for a period of at least two years please let any prospective purchasers know this, so that they can decide whether to proceed with their interest and plan accordingly," he said.

"The continuing uncertainty is impacting not only on potential investors but in particular on the lives and families of the staff and players at the club, who are in no way responsible for the financial crisis and whose efforts at this time cannot be praised too highly."