Players' association support Bulls
The Rugby League Players' Association have become the latest organisation to join the battle to save Bradford Bulls from extinction.
Last Updated: 29/03/12 5:01pm
The Rugby League Players' Association have become the latest organisation to join the battle to save stricken Super League club Bradford.
The beleaguered Bulls say they need £500,000 by next Friday in order to keep the tax man at bay and avoid the threat of administration or a winding-up order.
Widnes chairman Steve O'Connor donated £10,000 out of his own pocket overnight to help take the total of pledges past the £100,000 mark and the RLPA, which is part of the GMB union, pledged their moral and financial support.
Geoff Burrow, RLPA secretary and GMB sports officer, said: "The RLPA will work with the club, its staff and the RFL in order to try and ensure that Bradford Bulls continue as a club.
"The RFL contacted me and informed me of the very serious financial situation. This has been a shock to everyone in the game when one of the most successful clubs is facing this sort of danger."
The Bradford players received this month's wages on time but have been given no guarantees over their April payments as the club await the outcome of their desperate plea to fans.
The RLPA say they will be contacting their affected members over the next few days while 1eague3, the union recently set up to represent Super League players, have arranged to meet the Bradford team next week.
GMB's Yorkshire regional secretary Tim Roache, who has agreed to match the RLPA's financial pledge, said: "The club, players, coaches and staff are suffering great stress at the moment and the uncertain future should remind people of the need to be supported and represented by the RLPA and GMB."
Bradford say they are close to running out of money and need £1million in all by the end of April to enable them to put in place a plan to guarantee their survival long term.
England captain Jamie Peacock is among a host of former players to pledge their support.
"My 2003 grand final ring and grand final shirt are available to buy," he tweeted. "There is a reserve. Contact the Bulls."
The Bradford supporters trust, Bullbuilder, have urged fans to put aside their lack of confidence in the directors by backing their fundraising efforts.
"We are satisfied that the situation is one of extreme gravity, which indeed requires an immediate cash injection," they said in a statement.
"After detailed discussions as a committee, we are convinced that it is of paramount importance for the club to raise sufficient funds to avoid administration.
"Although many people...are reluctant to pledge because of lack of confidence in the current board, we feel that such issues can only be addressed after the immediate priority of saving the club from administration has been resolved.
"As a result we urge our members, the fanbase and the rugby league community as a whole to support the club's efforts to raise the necessary funds via the pledge and related fundraising efforts.
"This is in no way to be seen as an endorsement of the current board and we will urgently seek meetings with the club to try to ensure that the views of the supporters are better represented, to improve transparency and to strengthen links between the club and the fans.
"However, we wish to emphasise that none of this can happen unless the club survives the current crisis."
Bradford say the current total in pledges amounts to £155,000.