Following the announcement by the Administrator on January 3rd that Bradford Bulls (Northern) Ltd had ceased trading, the RFL immediately started a process to seek expressions of interest to set up a new professional club in Bradford.
The RFL is aware of the current interest surrounding this process. For clarity, below is the information that has been sent to all interested parties and the requirements set out by the RFL.
Information for Interested Parties - New Professional Club in Bradford
The RFL is seeking expressions of interest to set up a new professional rugby league club in Bradford. The purpose of this note is to set out the information that any party interested in setting up such a club needs to provide to the RFL, the process for determining the successful applicant and the terms on which it is envisaged that any new company would be granted membership of the RFL.
In accordance with the RFL’s press release, it is currently the RFL’s intention that the new Company will be placed in the Championship in 2017 with a 12-point deduction and with the same central distributions as the 12th placed Club (i.e. £150k).
2. Information Required
To enable the RFL to consider any applications each interested party must provide the following by midday on Monday 9 January:
(a) Details of the business plan for the Club. This would ideally include a 3-year budget forecast and evidence of the working capital (proof of funds) to support such forecast;
(b) Details of the experience the relevant individuals have running rugby league clubs and/or other sporting club;
(c) Proposals relating to the recruitment of sufficient staff (particularly playing and coaching staff) in order to be ready to start the 2017 season on time and whether it is intended that the playing squad will be full or part time.
(d) Completed Fit and Proper Person Forms (copy appended) for each proposed Influential Person;
(e) Confirmation that the directors / shareholders of the new company are prepared to provide personal guarantees to support their assurances that the club will complete its fixtures in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and that if those fixtures are not completed then all central distributions paid or payable in that Season will be repayable by the club, and absent of repayment by the club are recoverable from the directors / shareholders according to the terms of their personal guarantees;
(f) Any further assurances that are proposed regarding the future survival of the new Club (including, for example, the provision of a financial bond repayable to the Club over the next 3 years);
(g) Proposals relating to an Academy (NB subject to matching the same, all Category 1 Academies get £100k funding from the RFL); and
It is hoped that many of the supporters and stakeholders of Bradford Bulls would naturally, in the absence of any other Bradford based RL club, switch their allegiance to the new RL club. In line with the requirements of the Operational Rules and the RFL’s overriding objectives to protect the sport of Rugby League and the ‘Persons’ subject to the Operational Rules, the RFL will look favourably on proposals which will generate goodwill with those supporters and stakeholders and, as such, each interested party must also provide the following by close of play on Monday 9 January:
(a) Proposals relating to the individuals who bought season tickets for Bradford Bulls; and
(b) Proposals relating to the ‘RL debts’ being the parties subject to the Operational Rules (largely based in the Bradford area) that were owed money by Bradford Bulls at the time of the administration (it is envisaged that these will be circa £50k).
The above information must be provided in one document or in attachments to one email.
3. Process for Determining Successful Applicant
The RFL Board will consider the bids received and determine which (if any) bid it will accept. The Board will have discretion in making such decision and will take into account all factors it considers appropriate including (but not limited to) the following:
- The interests of the sport (including its reputation and the need to promote the game of rugby league generally);
- The interests of RFL members and/or participating clubs in the RFL’s competitions;
- The integrity and continuity of competitions;
- The interests of players and other Persons subject to the Operational Rules;
- The financial resource it is proposed is committed by the proposed owners; and
- Any other relevant matters brought to the Board’s attention.
In line with the above, the RFL Board will base its assessment of each applicant on the information provided within their expression of interest. The RFL Board’s decision shall be final: there shall be no right of appeal.
The RFL Board’s decision will be conditional upon the selected party executing a Membership and Participation Agreement (documenting the above conditions and such other conditions as the RFL Board considers reasonable) within such time period as specified by the RFL Board.