Calls growing for full enquiry into RFL’s ownership of Odsal Stadium lease

The Rugby Football League will address the future of Odsal Stadium at a board meeting later this month – as calls from within the game grow to launch an enquiry into the governing body’s high-profile ownership of the site’s lease.

The RFL infamously paid £1.2million seven years ago to buy the Odsal lease from Bradford Bulls, in a move which was described by the governing body at the time as a move to preserve Rugby League in the city.

League Express revealed last year how the most recent valuation of the site had seen it estimated at £750,000 – and how several Super League clubs had expressed an interest in purchasing the lease from the governing body.

With Bradford seemingly moving out of Odsal in 2020 – though there has been no inclination yet from the new consortium aiming to take over at the Bulls about their intentions relating to a home stadium – it has raised the issue again.

And League Express can now reveal that there have been calls from some clubs for the governing body to be as open and transparent about the Odsal affair as possible: by sanctioning an independent enquiry into the history of the RFL’s ownership of the lease.

The issue is set to be discussed at an RFL board meeting in late-October, believed to be on the 24th of this month.

However, it is unclear whether the RFL will submit to pressure from some of its member clubs and sanction an enquiry. There is still great confusion over what the RFL’s intentions with Odsal’s lease long-term are – with the situation even more complex now the Bulls have declared their intent to leave and play in Dewsbury.

Meanwhile, League Express can reveal another County Court Judgement was filed against the Bulls last month.

The amount, totalling £5,472, was filed on September 25th 2019, and remains unpaid as of League Express going to print. Fears are growing over the scale of the debt a new consortium led by Chris Brereton will inherit, with a creditors list growing by the day.

They include an energy company believed to be owed a five-figure sum, as well as two local travel companies, suppliers and even other clubs.