Bradford remain hopeful of survival despite fundraising match being scrapped

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Published: Wednesday 11th January 2017 by The News Editor

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Bradford are bracing themselves for more player departures as efforts continue to re-launch the four-time Super League champions.

Hopes remain that one of the four bids to form a new company to run a Bradford team in the 2017 Kingstone Press Championship will be successful but plans for a fundraising match at Batley on Sunday have been scrapped because they may not have enough players.

“The match was sanctioned by the RFL but some more players are leaving Bradford and they are struggling to raise a team,” said Batley chief executive Paul Harrison.

“The players are very uncertain about the future. If they get injured in this game, will they find another club? So they don’t want to play. We’re absolutely gutted.”

Sunday’s friendly had been arranged long before the Bradford club went bust, rendering all 31 players free agents, but it was hoped it could still go ahead with players still loyal to the club.

There have been seven confirmed departures from the Bulls following the decision of administrators to liquidate the club eight days ago but the remainder have stayed together under coaches Rohan Smith and Chev Walker and plans were formulated for a Bradford Select XIII to play the Bulldogs at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.

Batley had pledged to share the gate receipts with the Bradford players and staff after they missed their December wages because the club were in administration and problems over insurance were resolved.

The latest development creates more uncertainty over the future of the iconic Bulls, who were crowned world club champions in 2006.

Bradford have been given an opportunity to continue in the Championship, starting on minus 12 points, but the opening fixture at Hull KR is less than a month away.

The Rugby Football League announced on Monday that it had received four serious offers to start a new club by their noon deadline and executive officers are currently sifting through the four business plans.

The RFL board is standing by to receive a recommendation but there is no guarantee it will be resolved by the end of this week.

Thought to be seeking to take over the club are London businessman Richard Lamb and two New Zealanders, David Thorne and Andrew Chalmers, plus a mystery fourth bidder.

Lamb, who is chief executive of Rotherham Rugby Union Club, has formed an alliance with former Cronulla Sharks chief executive Damian Irvine, currently commercial director of Wycombe, and intends to set up a supporters’ trust to help run the club if he gets the nod.

Chalmers, a former chairman of New Zealand RL, was involved in Marwan Koukash’s successful takeover of Salford four years ago and remains a director of the Red Devils, while Thorne , who saved Wasps from bankruptcy in 2012, has already registered a new company under the named of Bradford Bulls Capital Ltd.

Published: Wednesday 11th January 2017 by The News Editor

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