Coulby calls for clarity
Stephen Coulby has called on the Rugby Football League to break the impasse that is threatening the future of the Bradford Bulls.
Last Updated: 01/08/12 9:25am
Bradford Bulls' acting chairman Stephen Coulby has called on the Rugby Football League to break the impasse that is threatening the future of the financially-stricken Super League club.
Brendan Guilfoyle, the joint administrator who has been in charge of the beleaguered Bulls since June 26th, has received offers to buy the club from two separate consortiums but both have come with strings attached.
Both the ABC consortium and a group fronted by former sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe want a guarantee that Bradford will retain their place in Super League in 2013 as well as the right to buy back from the RFL the lease to Odsal Stadium.
The RFL have maintained all along that they will not entertain conditional offers and point out that the other 13 Super League clubs have a say on any transfer of the Bulls' licence.
Coulby, who returned to the board in May after directors Peter Hood and Andrew Bennett were forced out of office by former chairman Chris Caisley, has now asked the RFL to break the deadlock.
"The ABC consortium have been trying for over three weeks now to satisfy the supposed demands of the RFL without knowing exactly what those demands are and the second syndicate, which has now put a bid in place, is faced with the same problem," Coulby said.
"These people are new to the sport and without any doubt are totally blameless for the present state of the business.
"They wish to invest substantial monies into the club at a time when the sport is struggling to attract new investors but, instead of being welcomed, they find it totally impossible to establish what exactly they would be purchasing.
"Their intention has never been to hold a gun to the head of the RFL but merely to put a sustainable business plan in place which, in their opinion, would require Super League membership through to the end of the present franchise period, at which time the licence would be re-assessed."
Coulby said the ABC consortium would drop their bid for the club if Bradford were to be placed in the second-tier Championship or even Championship One, which will be something of a pioneering league in 2013 with the admission of Hemel Stags, Northampton and the University of Gloucestershire.
He added: "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.
"If this is to be the stated policy of the RFL moving forward it will of course not only be Bradford Bulls who will be seriously affected but also any other club which might find themselves in a similar position in the future.
"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 again are in no way responsible for the financial crisis and whose efforts at this time cannot be praised too highly.
"Many of those who lost their jobs have continued to show their unstinting loyalty by working without pay, hoping against hope that the future of the club, whatever that might be, will soon be resolved one way or the other.
"They most certainly do not deserve to be embroiled in the lingering death of the club, which the ongoing uncertainty is only assisting and accelerating at an alarming rate."
Guilfoyle, who has said liquidation would be inevitable if he fails to find a buyer, has offered to extend his deadline if the RFL make money available to satisfy the August wage bill.
The RFL had promised an answer to his request by yesterday but have yet to make any further comment.