|Bradford Bulls Look To Loyal Supporters To Keep Afloat|
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 09:43
With The future of Bradford Bulls up in the air, the club have asked for supporters to raise £1 million to save one of English rugby league’s leading clubs from dissolving under growing financial difficulties.
Senior club officials have stated they could go out of business unless a minimum £500,000 is found by April 6. The news comes after the Rugby Football League (RFL) In January announced the acquisition of Bradford’s Odsal Stadium in a bid to ensure the long-term future of one of the sport’s most historic venues.
The League, which is the governing body of rugby league in England, paid an undisclosed sum at what it described as “market value” which allowed the Bulls to remain at their home stadium. Ownership of Odsal by the RFL was seen as a method to safeguard the stadium at a time when the economic downturn saw the proposed development of a sporting village concept put on hold.
However, Bulls chairman Peter Hood has now stated that while the Odsal deal had allowed the club to repay money owed to the RFL, the Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to cut its overdraft facility has left it with “no cash”. Hood told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus: “I don't think the situation could be more critical. We've got to generate a significant sum to survive and we're doing everything we can to achieve that. If we haven't got cash, then we can't stay alive and if we can't stay alive then we can't fulfil our fixtures. It's that serious.”
The Bulls have written to every season-ticket holder, member and sponsor asking for a minimum donation of £100. Bulls chief executive Ryan Duckett stated his optimism that the club will survive following the initial response to the campaign. Duckett told Press Association Sport: “We felt we had to be proactive to address some of the issues rather than letting them escalate and that's why we've gone out with this radical message. We're appealing to people's passions. If they don't get behind it, there might not be a Bradford Bulls. It's a serious situation and it's taken a lot of people by surprise, including staff and players.”
He added: “But in the four or five hours since the news broke, the response has been fantastic, the phones have been red hot. The passion showed so far and some of numbers pledged to donate make me feel very confident we're going to get through it.”