Bulls staff redundant, as club reveals finances of Harris saga

Bradford Bulls’ administrators have made Mick Potter and his coaching staff redundant.

Several office staff have also lost their jobs, on the same day club director Stephen Coulby revealed that the Iestyn Harris saga cost the Bulls £550,000 in compensation to Leeds Rhinos

With legal costs of £79,032.13, the Bulls paid Leeds an out-of-court settlement of approximately £629K. The revelation comes as the Bulls are facing liquidation if a buyer cannot be found before the end of the week.

The extent of the saga was also described by Coulby, after Harris signed for the Bulls in 2004 from Cardiff Blues RU. Harris had previously played for Leeds Rhinos.

Coulby said: “Iestyn was signed by Bradford in full knowledge that Leeds had an option to secure his services but that the option could not be enforced unless Iestyn gave notice to terminate his contract with Cardiff RUFC.

“Bradford were told at the time by his solicitor and agent that Iestyn had not terminated his contract with Cardiff but that Cardiff had dismissed him – ie that the option could not therefore be enforced – and on that basis the player signed for Bradford, his chosen preference.

“It subsequently transpired that Iestyn’s agent had in fact given notice to Cardiff without Iestyn’s apparent knowledge, thus triggering the Leeds option.”

Coulby said the board of directors at the time was confident the club could afford the payments to the Rhinos, and Coubly also stressed the club’s recent financial troubles also did not come as a result of the Harris fee.

Coulby said: “The point was reached by 2008 where it was in the interests of both clubs to settle the matter out of court and Bradford agreed, after a number of amicable meetings, to pay Leeds an amount of £550,000, such amount to cover all costs and interest.

“The costs to the club had, however, been absorbed by the business prior to the settlement being reached, leaving £550K to be covered going forward, and the budget for 2009 was prepared on a break-even position and full salary cap spend after allowing for the first payment to Leeds.”

“The directors are grateful to Leeds for allowing the true facts to now come out and to indicate that their stance in this matter and the resulting settlement have not ultimately led to the problems which face the club at the present time.”

Bradford are due to face London Broncos at Odsal Stadium on Sunday. No announcement has been made regarding a possible postponment.

However the RFL have released a statement on Monday afternoon saying they had no knowledge of the administrator’s decision to make all non-playing staff redundant.

The statement, in full, said: “The RFL is concerned by the news that the official administrator of Bradford Bulls has made all the club’s non-playing staff redundant.

“The governing body received no official notification of this action and is meeting the administrator Brendan Guilfoyle this afternoon to seek an explanation and clarification.

“The RFL is continuing to establish the facts behind this development and will not be making any further comment until we have spoken to all the parties involved.”

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