Bradford Bulls vow to keep running academy after "incomprehensible" RFL decision

BRADFORD BULLS have vowed to keep running their academy insisting it does not believe “young Bradfordians should be made to catch the bus to Headingley or Huddersfield if they want to pursue an elite rugby league career.”

Bradford Bulls in action against Featehrstone Rovers earlier this season. (ALLAN MCKENZIE/SWPIX)

The Championship club has made a further statement in light of the Rugby Football League’s decision on Friday to deny it an Elite Academy licence for 2022-27.

That announcement stunned all at the Bulls, and similarly at Castleford Tigers and Hull KR who also lost their spot in the Academy league moving forward, as the number of clubs was reduced from 13 to ten.

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Bradford have traditionally enjoyed success at bringing through their own homegrown talent including current England stars John Bateman, Elliott Whitehead and Tom Burgess.

Elsewhere in Super League, Castleford’s Jake Trueman, St Helens Grand Final winner James Bentley and Huddersfield Giants hooker Adam O’Brien also came through their ranks and Bradford have continued to run an impressive academy despite being relegated from the top flight in 2014.

The ten clubs to gain an Elite Academy licence from 2022 are Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos, Wakefield Trinity, Huddersfield, St Helens, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Catalans Dragons, London Broncos and Newcastle Thunder.

Bradford’s statement read: “Bradford Bulls have still not received a detailed explanation as to why its application (to continue) to run an outstandingly productive Academy, had been rejected.

“While awaiting some feedback the club is reserving its position to use all options to reverse this apparently incomprehensible conclusion.

“A central principle of the Bulls is that we provide employment, training and career opportunities for the people, particularly the young people, of Bradford.

“Our commitment to continuing to run a scholarship system and Academy team, remains 100% intact.

“We will be engaging with local parents, clubs, businesses and other interested parties this week when we have more actual information.

“We do not believe that young Bradfordians should be made to catch the bus to Headingley or Huddersfield if they want to pursue an elite rugby league career.”

Hull KR have demanded an independent review into the decision to deny them a licence and Castleford coach Daryl Powell labelled their club being turned down as a "mistake" and "short-sighted."