HULL KR chairman Neil Hudgell last night said the Rugby Football League faces a “real struggle” to get new owners for a club in Bradford and conceded he would never entertain such a proposition.
Hudgell is heartened that the former World Club champions might get the chance to be re-born following Tuesday’s liquidation and is pleased any new side that materialises will retain a place in the Championship.
However, for those arguing that the RFL should have made Bradford start at the bottom of League 1 instead, he maintains that the new club will already have an almost impossible task on their hands.
“They’ll get ownership with hardly any funding, no team as such and a 12-point deduction so they are already up against it in terms of relegation,” Hudgell told The Yorkshire Post.
“So, in my eyes, it is a really big ask to get someone on board.
“I believe they will do – I’m not privy to any detail but my understanding is there will be a club in Bradford and a game against Hull KR on the first weekend of February.
“But I know I wouldn’t take it on.
“I think’ll they struggle to operate and raise commercial revenue given the mistrust created by that organisation previously.”
The RFL do have 10 interested parties, but the governing body are seeking a raft of assurances from prospective buyers, including potentially paying off £50,000 of debt to local creditors and honouring the 1,000 season tickets sold by the previous owner.
Hudgell added: “Personally, I find it morally offensive how anyone can take people’s money like that and then not deliver.
“Myself and (Hull KR vice-chairman) Rob Crossland sit down every August, September or October and ask, ‘are we going around again?’
“If we’re not going to go around again for the full year then we can’t take £200 from someone for a membership especially if, as is often the case, they’re on a low income and had to scrape that £200 together.
“We walk down the street and speak to these same people. I wouldn’t be able to look them in the eye if that was the case.
“Five years ago I was the only one who voted for Bradford to leave Super League (after administration).
“Certain people pushed hard for them to stay as it would have improved their own club’s financial position, which, fundamentally, is wrong.
“But Bradford were lurching from one crisis to the next and, if we’d have put them out of their misery then, I think they’d be well on the way to being back in Super League by now.
“But instead they’ve stuck plasters over festering wounds and it’s got worse and worse.
“They have to find an owner willing to invest a significant amount of money.
“I’m absolutely sure the RFL will expect any terms of ownership to see the season tickets fans have bought be honoured.
“They bought them expecting Championship rugby and they have been let down too many times before; they are owed this.”
RFL lay down demands for Bradford bids: Page 25