TV Money From Rugby League Keeps Struggling Bradford Bulls Afloat
Rugby Super League club Bradford Bulls "secured another stay of execution," through July 27, according to Andy Wilson of the London GUARDIAN. The Bulls players "should be paid" on Friday, allowing them to fulfill their next fixture at Leeds on July 20. However, the long-term prospects for the four-time Super League champions "remain uncertain," even after talks between Rugby Football League and a consortium of local businessmen who are "exploring the possibility of rescuing the club." The consortium, which is understood to include a former Great Britain amateur int'l and the Akbars restaurant chain, are "seeking guarantees from the RFL" about Bradford's Super League membership. The consortium also wanted a guarantee "on which they could buy back Odsal," the club's famous old ground, which was bought by the game's governing body last winter in an unusual deal worth around £1.3M ($2M). However, the RFL has "provisionally agreed to forward the Bulls their next chunk of the Super League TV contract" with Sky to allow administrator Brendan Guilfoyle to pay the players' wages for July (GUARDIAN, 7/10). In London, Christopher Irvine noted Guilfoyle has an extended window of 12 working days to complete a takeover. The team will play at Leeds Rhinos on July 20, although "there is conspicuously no word" on a coach. Head coach Mick Potter was made redundant by Guilfoyle last week, but "was among those who volunteered their services for Sunday’s home win against London Broncos." The club is effectively in limbo while "the prospective new owners conduct a process of due diligence." They also hope "to retain the club’s best young players." A member of the consortium said, “What is being considered is some kind of viable plan to be able to rescue what we consider to be the heart of Bradford in terms of its heritage” (LONDON TIMES, 7/11).