An Independent Sporting Sanctions Appeal Panel last night upheld the penalty handed down by the RFL’s board of directors for entering into administration earlier this year.
The decision jeopardises the four-times Super League club’s top-flight position as they remain six points adrift of safety with 11 games to go.
A spokesman for Bradford’s directors said: “We’re naturally disappointed with the panel’s decision we did not meet the necessary threshold to allow our appeal to be fully considered.
“Prior to the appeal hearing, we had already taken initial legal advice on our options should the appeal fail. We will now pursue those options with a view to making a decision on how to take matters further forward in the belief the decision was wrong.
“Inevitably, there will be upset amongst our players, supporters and sponsors who have throughout been supportive – both on and off the field.
“As a club, we are doing all we can to repay the faith shown by our supporters. We are hopeful that ultimately our efforts will bring success.”
Bradford were docked the points on February 25 after going into administration for the second time in two years.
They opted to launch an appeal – unprecedented in such cases – after Marc Green took charge on April 14, the new owner saying it had been “unforeseeable” and “unavoidable.”
An independent appeals panel, incorporating Bill Broughton and Chris Booth from Leeds-based legal firm Pinsent Mason plus insolvency practitioner James Sleight, heard the case last Wednesday but asked for further evidence from Bradford.
They have since examined that, too, but were unmoved which clearly delighted Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, who sit in the coveted 12th spot just above Bradford.
RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer said: “The unique nature of this panel, and the forensic nature of the investigations that have taken place, have made for a very complicated process which is now at a conclusion.
“The time has now come to move on and put this chapter in the history of Bradford Bulls behind the sport.”
He added that Green and his directors had acted in a “proper and dignified manner throughout” and their “continuing commitment will ensure the club’s future success.”