League chiefs preparing to aid Bulls after plea to fund wages

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THE Rugby Football League is set to advance Bradford Bulls another instalment of their television money to help avert the collapse of any potential sale of the beleaguered club.

Administrator Brendan Guilfoyle yesterday insisted he would not be able to continue running the financially-crippled West Yorkshire outfit unless the governing body aided his cause by helping to pay their next wage bill.

He had set last night as a deadline to find a buyer for the four-times Super League champions or otherwise it will face liquidation.

However, with a couple of interested parties still hoping to complete a purchase, that has been extended for a second time.

The RFL will discuss over the weekend whether or not they will stump up around £200,000 to ease the pressure on Guilfoyle but the Yorkshire Post understands they will meet his appeal to see the club through August.

Super League’s clubs each receive around £100,000 per month from the governing body as part of a broadcast deal with Sky Sports that nets them £1.2m each year.

Bradford, in administration since June 26, have already had August’s instalment, and some of September’s, to help Guilfoyle pay the July wage bill.

The RFL have always said they would do everything they could to ensure the Bulls complete the rest of the season, even if they were liquidated and started up as a new business. But the ABC consortium, who had its initial bid turned down on Thursday due to “unacceptable” conditions, has received encouragement after it emerged the RFL is considering its improved offer.

A group, with Gerry Sutcliffe MP as its spearhead, is also considering making a formal bid and all parties are hoping an agreement can soon be reached.

But Guilfoyle said: “The only way I can take the Bulls into next month is if the RFL help by paying the wages bill.

“Today (Friday) is the administrators’ deadline to save the Bulls and I don’t have an offer for the club which is acceptable to the RFL. If the RFL can help me to buy a little more time then I can try to bring an acceptable deal to the table. There are two home games in August and I really want fans to be able to turn up at Odsal and support their team.”

RFL Director of Standards and Licensing Blake Solly responded last night saying: “We received a request for assistance from Brendan Guilfoyle late this afternoon and will spend this weekend considering it.”

The administrator’s plea came just five minutes after the following statement was released by the governing body: “The RFL is continuing to assess the details of a further modified offer to purchase Bradford Bulls from the club’s official administrator. The latest offer has been submitted by the same business consortium whose original offer was rejected earlier this week because of the conditions attached.

“Whilst the RFL remains hopeful that new owners for the club can be found and is receptive to constructive approaches from interested parties, the governing body is still unable to consider conditional offers.

“The RFL will continue to work with the administrator to achieve our shared aim of finding new owners for Bradford Bulls and will continue to be flexible in its approach to discussions with prospective owners.”

Solly added: “We have received details of an updated offer to the administrator of Bradford Bulls and will respond to the administrator in due course.

“Throughout this process the RFL has to recognise its responsibility to safeguard the best interests of the wider game, the competitions and all member clubs.

“We understand that the protracted nature of the dialogue and the perceived lack of transparency are a source of frustration for many people but these matters are extremely complex and it is imperative that confidentiality and integrity are maintained throughout this process.”

ABC wanted the Bulls’ Super League licence guaranteed in 2013 – something the governing body is actually powerless to deliver – and also to be able to buy back the Odsal Stadium lease from the RFL who are currently unwilling to do so. Bradford, who have fared brilliantly amid all the off-field uncertainty, return to action tomorrow when they head to Warrington Wolves.

The club is still upset about the six-point deduction, handed down by the RFL board of directors on Wednesday for entering administration, which effectively dumped them out of the play-off zone. But coach Mick Potter, still working unpaid, is adamant they will not give up.

“It’s not impossible to make the eight; it makes it harder and we are aware of that but we will just keep turning up and doing what we do,” he said, with Bradford now five points adrift with six games remaining. “We can’t focus too much on other teams’ results or it affects our focus.

“The players are very resilient and determined and this adversity has not only brought them closer together but it’s bought a new confidence on the field. The spirit is fine.”