RFL hopeful Bulls will be saved
Hopes have risen in the battle to save Bradford Bulls after the RFL were encouraged by the latest offer put to the joint administrator.
The latest twist in the protracted saga came on Wednesday when Brendan Guilfoyle, partner at Leeds-based The P&A Partnership, revealed he has found a new potential buyer for the financially-stricken Super League club.
Guilfoyle said was expecting to get a quick answer to his offer from the RFL, who need to ratify any change of ownership, but the board of directors have deferred a decision while seeking more information.
The board discussed the offer in a conference call, which included chief executive Nigel Wood who is currently on a visit to Australia, and were due to speak to both Guilfoyle and the prospective purchasers Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.
It is the fourth offer Guilfoyle has received for Bradford, who have been in administration since June 26, but unlike two of the previous ones, does not come with strings attached and an RFL spokesman described their deliberations so far as "positive".
The RFL rejected a bid from a local group of businessmen known as the ABC consortium because it contained unacceptable conditions and they have yet to formally receive an offer from a rival consortium fronted by local MP Gerry Sutcliffe.
In an attempt to end the short-term uncertainty over the club's future, Super League (Europe) stepped in last Thursday with an offer to buy the Bulls on behalf of the other 13 clubs but they could be "gazumped" by the latest offer.
The RFL spokesman said it was thought the actions of SLE in expressing their confidence in the Bulls had helped to "flush out" a new potential buyer, who got in touch with the administrator for the first time 24 hours later.
Guilfoyle said: "This new offer is for more than Super League (Europe) Ltd put forward so we felt obliged to submit to the RFL for consideration.
"I understand the frustration of fans, players and staff that we haven't sold the club yet.
"The administrators have a duty to creditors to aim to get the best deal possible so we submit all offers where funds are proved."
The RFL's executive officers carried out "due diligence" before making a recommendation to the board of directors which is thought to be favourable.
The ABC consortium bid failed largely because they insisted on being able to buy back the lease to the Odsal Stadium from the RFL and also wanted a guarantee that Bradford remain in Super League for the remaining two years of the licence period.
The governing body insisted all along they would not entertain conditional offers, which was also thought to be a stumbling block to the bid fronted by Sutcliffe.
Bradford head coach Mick Potter, one of 16 full-time staff made redundant a month ago, is among those working voluntarily but has said he needs to be given an assurance about his own future by the weekend as he edges ever closer to returning home to Australia.
He is currently preparing the Bulls for their next home game, a crucial televised clash with play-off rivals Hull KR at Odsal on Friday.