Bulls takeover bid derailed by points deduction
Bradford Bulls chairman Mark Moore has announced the new board’s takeover bid has been withdrawn following the club’s six point deduction today.
Last week, administrators accepted an offer from Bradford Bulls 2014, who took initial control of the club after its former holding company, OK Bulls Ltd, entered administration.
However, Moore said the bid was no longer a viable option due to the RFL’s sanctions, which put the Bulls on negative points for the 2014 season. He also lashed out at the RFL for their involvement and claimed relegation is now almost a certainty for the club.
He said, on behalf of his fellow board members, which includes former player Robbie Hunter-Paul: “It is with great sadness and frustration that we have been led to this point.
“I believe that we have been forced into making this decision, due to the Rugby Football League’s proposed sanction of a six-point deduction, making relegation almost a certainty.
“In addition, the governing body wished to place the club’s licence into special measures, which, as successful businessmen, will likely taint our personal dealings while embarrassing us all professionally.
“I am also extremely surprised by the current position of the RFL, given the fact that they have guided us and advised us on the majority of decisions made over the past five to six months. We were more than grateful of their assistance, as they have been integral in getting us to this stage.
“More frustratingly, this process has been amplified by the fact that administration could have been avoided.
“Should the meeting held at the Provident Stadium, on January 9, which was designed to draw a line under the club’s ownership and was chaired by the RFL, had followed its course properly and professionally then none of this would have occurred.
“The meeting included a quartet of important stakeholders, including Omar Khan and his associates, the club’s debenture holder, representatives of the current board and, of the RFL, Ralph Rimmer and Blake Solly.
“Without following proper protocol, the RFL closed the meeting while discussions were still taking place and stakeholders were allowed to leave.
“No documents were signed and, as such, this led to a disagreement in the weeks which followed between one stakeholder and the other three.
“This poor leadership by the RFL was, I believe, detrimental to the ownership of the club being agreed amicably, which then ultimately led to it then being forced into administration.
“Due to the error made by the governing body, the players, staff and supporters have now been asked to suffer a six-point deduction along with heavy financial restrictions.
“It feels like a real slap in the face to our team, our partners, the sport and, most importantly, our supporters, of whom we have been working tirelessly for.
“On February 12, a meeting was held at Red Hall. We had not been given an agenda and the tough sanctions, imposed upon the club, were sprung upon us.
“The decision to place the club, by the RFL, into special measures was taken without key members of the RFL board having sight of the club’s up-to-date cash-flow projections or our business plan, which we deem presumptuous as well as uninformed and unprofessional.
“Feedback from them leads us to believe that they had also made the decision based on inaccurate information, obtained without authorisation of the board.
“The business plan that we brought along to support our bid was not even asked for as the decision had already been made, leaving us with the impression that another objective is currently being played out.
“It needs to be pointed out also that this is the first relegation season for a number of years and the club has been functioning on only half of the central distribution funding for two years.
“It is equally important to point out that every other club in Super League is currently sharing the other half of the distribution money.
“Our desire was just to compete on a level playing field with the rest of the Super League.
“But with the sanctions imposed and the points above, I hope our supporters can agree that this is definitely not a level playing field and could be argued as anticompetitive.
“As a team we have worked tirelessly to turn the Bulls around.
“Each member of the board has taken responsibility for a different sector of the business, where we have reorganised the structure to help it become more sustainable while working towards profitability.
“Over the the last three months we have made cost savings of nearly £1,000,000 and, two games in, we believe we have proven our ability to stage Super League matches professionally.
“We have, time and time again been complemented for the measures we have put in place by RFL representatives, so have taken this complete lack of support with surprise and shock.
“We have also been very public and stated time and time again that we would be working with all genuine creditors as many of them are Bulls supporters, so this shows it was never the intention of the board to capitalise via administration.
“The dramas being played out over the past few months with the Bradford Bulls have been extremely tough on ourselves and our families.
“We have tried our very best to do what is right for both the club and the sport.
“We have been open and honest with the players and kept every promise made to them.
“The points deduction will hurt them most and we are very worried about their welfare, as they will view this mountain placed in front of them as something too tough to climb. As warriors we believe they will try their very best.
“The restrictions and penalties, placed on the club, leaves it all but impossible to grow the business in this relegation season.
“As such we were left with no other option than to withdraw the offer to the administrator, based on what we believe is an immoral position from the sport’s governing body due to their involvement in this whole affair.
“I would like to thank all of the supporters, staff and players for the hard work they put in alongside us and please understand after all of the trials and tribulations experienced how gut wrenching it is to fall at this final hurdle.
“I would also like to thank sponsors and partners for whom we have made strong friendships with and also the administrator, David Wilson, for his professionalism during this entire process.
“We wish everyone all of the very best of luck for the future.”