Bradford are taking legal action after prop Garreth Carvell walked out on them to join Hull.
Carvell, 32, signed for the Bulls from Warrington at the end of last season, but is set to line-up for the Airlie Birds this weekend after being confirmed as a Hull player.
It is understood that the player believes his contract has not been transferred to the Bulls’ new parent company, set up after OK Bulls Ltd went in to administration, which in theory would make him a free agent.
A Bradford statement said: “This information has come as a great surprise to all of us at the club. We believed that due to Garreth taking wages since last year and the fact that he still now has a club sponsored car we would be able to come to an understanding that would work out for all. We have now been left with no alternative and will now be taking legal action.
“A letter was sent to Carvell last week from the clubs HR specialist, ‘Elcons’ explaining that they did not accept his refusal to transfer to Bradford Bulls 2014 Ltd, explaining that his playing contract will only allow him to resign if the club is guilty of serious and persistent breach of the terms and conditions of this agreement.
“We are of the opinion that no such breach has taken place and therefore we assert that he was not entitled to resign from his position as the transfer of his employment in itself does not constitute a serious or persistent breach of the terms and conditions of his agreement.
“The letter went on to explain the agreement which was entered into last year is with “the club” being referred to as “Bradford Bulls“. The change in ownership does not affect this agreement given that Bradford Bulls remains as the club. The letter finished off by requesting that Carvell return to work/training immediately.
“The club’s board will now turn back to the governing body to request guidance in this matter as well as moving forward with their own legal action. The board in no way wants to restrict a player from plying their trade but this and recent situations like this could set an extremely dangerous precedent in regards to player contracts, and if all parties are not made accountable they be viewed as ‘not worth the paper they’re written on’.”
An RFL spokesman said: “We have accepted Hull FC‘s registration of Garreth Carvell. Any alleged breach of contract between the Bradford Bulls and Garreth Carvell is for the player and clubs to resolve.”