Do the Bulls deserve reduced funding?
Bradford Bulls owner Omar Khan last week revealed that he is going to invest an additional £900,000 of his own money into the club to ameliorate its financial problems.
Last week the club revealed that its players, who are normally paid on the 28th day of each month, may have to wait until 8th August to receive their July payment.
It was obviously disappointing news for the players, and for the club’s supporters, given the trauma that overtook the club in 2012, when its future looked to be very shaky indeed.
Of course the problem would be nothing like as great if the Bulls were not receiving only half the funding that the other 13 clubs receive from the BSkyB broadcasting deal.
It’s worth remembering that Mr Khan, when he was negotiating to buy the Bulls last year, and to take over the club’s Super League licence, actually promised the other Super League clubs that he was prepared to accept only half the funds they were getting in order to be given a licence.
So many people might point out that if the Bulls are not struggling financially, it is only on the basis of what its new owner himself promised to the other clubs.
Indeed, we understand that the response of some of those clubs is to say to Mr Khan, when he asked for the agreement to be re- negotiated, that he was lucky to be at the Super League table at all.
If that is true, it shows an amazing shortsightedness that is only too often characteristic of Rugby League clubs and Rugby League administrators.
The clubs have got precisely the wrong end of the stick in this case.
It is they who are lucky, in finding someone like Omar Khan who was prepared to dig into his pocket to save this historic Rugby League club, so that the Bulls supporters could keep putting money into the other clubs on their away trips.
What the clubs should have done last year is to say to Mr Khan that he was welcome to join Super League, and they wouldn’t dream of putting the Bulls at a disadvantage because someone has come along to save them.
Mr Khan’s offer to take half the money of the other clubs should have been politely refused, and he should have been given the full share.
Now, of course, he finds himself in the position of being a member of a competition from which two clubs will be relegated next year.
The terms of the deal have changed, and the Bulls should not have to suffer for it.
The other clubs should re-visit this issue, and change the deal, giving Bradford a full entitlement in 2014.
Anything less, and they will be exposed as selfish, short-sighted and foolish.
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