Bradford could face Super League licence battle

Bradford may be entered in to a mini-round of licensing to determine their Super League future, with leading Championship clubs Featherstone, Leigh and Halifax also involved.

The Bulls’ saga appeared to be coming to an end last night, when restauranter Omar Khan confirmed on Twitter that he had been successful in his bid to buy the club, backed by a consortium led by MP Gerry Sutcliffe.

Although they are awaiting official confirmation of the deal from the RFL, it is thought to be a formality, meaning the club can now focus on its future.

Opinion is divided on whether Bradford should retain their Super League status, having entered administration in June.

Several club chairmen have come out in support of the Bulls remaining in the top flight.

But Blake Solly, the RFL’s licensing director, says a review must be done to determine whether they would be allowed to see out the remaining two years of their current licence, which was awarded just over 12 months ago.

That review, and a subsequent decision, could be made within two weeks, according to reports.

St Helens chairman, Eamonn McManus, said earlier this month: “We are strongly of the view that they retain their Super League licence on an ongoing basis and not merely for the balance of the season. 

“They are a powerhouse of rugby league and have been a massive contributor to the commercial and playing success  of Super League over much of the last 16 years; we would be a lesser entity without them.”

A number of clubs have offered donations or funds from ticket sales to help keep the Bulls afloat in recent months.

Halifax missed out on a Super League license last July, when they were put in direct competition with the then existing 14 Super League clubs, including the Bulls.

Crusaders subsequently withdrew their application, and the remaining 13 top flight clubs retained their licences, to be joined by Widnes, who had been awarded the automatic Championship spot last March.

Featherstone, who can make it three successive Championship League Leaders shield’s this weekend, did not apply for a Super League licence last time round, opting to focus their attention on their application for the 2015 season.

Meanwhile, Leigh failed to satisfy the on-field criteria which would have made them eligible apply for a 2012 licence. They last missed out in 2008, when then chairman Arthur Thomas was critical of the RFL and the licensing process.

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