Deadline set for Odsal stadium bids with ‘a good deal of interest’ already shown

James Gordon
Odsal, Bradford Bulls

Odsal, the home of Bradford Bulls - Alamy

Interested parties have until the end of January to submit bids to purchase the lease of Odsal Stadium from the Rugby Football League.

The RFL announced back in October that they were putting the lease, which they currently have on a 150-year term from Bradford Council on a peppercorn rent, up for sale.

They had acquired the lease back in January 2012 as Bradford Bulls were struck by financial difficulties which saw the three-time Super League champions enter administration thrice and enter liquidation.

Global property consultancy Knight Frank have been appointed, and they have announced all expressions of interest must be received by 12.30pm on Wednesday, January 31.

Speaking to The Telgraph and Argus, partner Jonathan Hyland said: “Since we first announced that the Odsal lease was up for sale in October, there has been a good deal of interest, which isn’t surprising, since this is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to acquire one of the most famous sporting stadia in Yorkshire.

“Odsal has a wonderful history and is one of the jewels in the crown of the city of Bradford.”

Deadline set for Odsal stadium bids with ‘a good deal of interest’ already shown

Odsal opened in 1924 and covers 12.85 acres, and is also the home of Odsal Motorsport – who have a licence running until 2041 allowing them to host up to 20 events per annum.

The Bulls have previously assured fans that they do not believe there are any issues with them playing their 2024 fixtures at Odsal having previously had to move out and play at Dewsbury Rams‘ FLAIR Stadium for 18 months.

Bulls CEO Jason Hirst said: “We have been continually reassured that the RFL’s primary objective has always been the protection of professional rugby league in Bradford and this was and has been repeated once again as part of this potential sale process.

“Given those assurances, we don’t, therefore, believe there is any immediate threat to the club’s occupancy of Odsal Stadium and as such, fully expect the club to play all of its’ home fixtures at the stadium in 2024.”

The Odsal Stadium lease has been a source of controversy for the RFL, especially given the involvement of the former RFL chief executive Nigel Wood, who was part of a new ownership group that took over the Bulls in 2019 and went on to become club chairman.

When announcing the lease was being put up for sale, the RFL’s director of finance, facilities and central services, Robert Graham, said: “The RFL purchased Odsal in January 2012 because of a specific set of circumstances, which at the time involved a real danger that an historic venue for rugby league could be lost to the sport.

“This was never envisaged as a permanent position for a national governing body, and after acting as custodians for more than a decade, and with two tenants in Bradford Bulls and Odsal Motorsports Ltd, the circumstances have now developed sufficiently to explore options for sale.”

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