Former Super League champions Bradford Bulls have been liquidated by the club’s administrator after going into administration for the third time in four years back in November.
Bradford were hoping to have a deal for the club wrapped up before Christmas, however, a bid from a consortium on December 29 was turned down.
Despite the bad fortune which has befallen the 2005 Super League champions, the Rugby Football League has confirmed in a statement that any new club from Bradford will be offered a place in the Championship for the 2017 season.
The statement read: “To clarify the next steps for all concerned, the independent RFL board has met to determine how the future of professional rugby league in Bradford can move forward in 2017.
“While a number of alternatives were considered, the board were most mindful of the planning already undertaken by all other clubs in the competition structure, the season tickets already purchased and the players and staff who will now be seeking employment in and around the sport in 2017.
“Accordingly, the board has agreed that the wider interests of the sport is best satisfied if it offers a place in the Championship to any new club in Bradford and that such a club start the 2017 season on minus 12 points.
“Any interested parties should contact the RFL directly.”
A further email sent by RFL chief executive Nigel Wood to the league’s other member clubs outlined why the decision has been taken to allow a new team immediate entry into the league.
The email read: “The RFL is aware of a number of individuals and consortia interested in taking professional Rugby League forward in Bradford.
“Similarly the independent Board of the RFL has also concluded that our sport would be weaker and our competition structure damaged without a club in Bradford.
“However, the club would start the season with a points deduction of 12 points, and the central distribution would be limited to the lowest distribution available in Championship, with the funds freed up being used to assist the closing down of the current company.
“Clearly all player contracts are voided and the players will become free agents.
“The Board recognises that there are arguments that could be made to reach a different decision, but they have concluded that in the best interests of the wider sport, the other clubs in Championship, the 1000-plus season ticket holders who have invested in the sport and the players and staff rendered unemployed by the failure of the club are pragmatically best dealt with in the course of action set out above.
The club was initially born 110 years ago, however, in 1963 it was closed and reformed a year later.
wigaThere is hope that history can repeat itself amidst the sad day which sees the close of the three time World Club Challenge winners and five time Challenge Cup champions.
Bulls Half-back Leon Pryce said on Twitter: “Sorry for players staff fans – everyone involved @BradfordBullsRL we have been liquidated. For the first time in my life i’m lost for words.”