BRADFORD will stay full-time in the Championship despite failing to make the top four this year.
The Bulls’ 20-0 defeat in the last match of the regular season at Featherstone on Sunday meant they missed out on the Super 8s Qualifiers, including a money-spinning tie with Leeds, and instead will play out the season in the Championship Shield.
It also means a third consecutive season outside the top flight for a club who with St Helens dominated the early years of summer rugby and were world club champions only 11 years ago.
The Bulls narrowly missed out on a return to Super League a year ago, losing 24-16 in the £1million Match to Wakefield, and this year’s failure prompted speculation over the club’s future.
However, stung by the reaction and subsequent criticism, Bradford chairman Marc Green issued a statement from his holiday base in Ibiza to insist it is business as normal and that the club will continue to mount a full-time operation in 2017.
Green said: “From the club’s perspective - it is our intention to continue as a full-time team for next season.
“We are pretty much sorted with our squad for next season although we will hope to add to it if the right person becomes available.
“Furthermore, it is also our intention to continue developing our youth policy, which over the year has seen the Under-19s put themselves in the mix for a play-off position as they currently sit fourth in the league, seen us recognised as a Category 1 Academy placed in the top eight of the sport and has seen both an Under-19 and an Under-16 called up for England.”
Bradford are one of three full-time clubs in the Championship - table-topping Leigh and Sheffield Eagles are the others.