St Helens back Bradford to stay in SL

St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus believes Bradford must remain in Super League if the competition is to thrive.

The Bulls remain in administration following a troublesome season, although four potential bidders have until today’s deadline to submit their business plans.

Sunday’s 34-12 win at Huddersfield puts them in pole position for a play-off place, despite a six point deduction, and McManus has added his backing to the Bulls.

He said: “As long as the new owner of the Bulls is fit for purpose then 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.

“The continuance of Bradford’s licence would enhance the sale process out of administration and into to the right hands. It is also critical to the future of Super League, which would be a much weaker collective body without Bradford. 

“Certainly, not too much store should be placed on the individual views of other Super League clubs as there are glaring conflicts here with some clubs being interested in their players, and even  in their spectators and sponsors. A practical and commercial solution for Super League as a whole is paramount.

“Many clubs, including ourselves, have been loss making in recent years. Bradford have been more unfortunate only in that they have not been  financially underwritten by directors or shareholders when other Super League clubs, whose underlying position is the same or worse, have – it is a “there but for the grace of god” scenario. 

Super League, and the overall game, is currently looking seriously and constructively at its governance and commercial structures and plans; any future initiatives adopted to improve individual and collective commercial performance will have a much better chance of succeeding with Bradford Bulls than without them. With the right structure and commercial policies, Super league is more than capable of producing a very healthy commercial performance for all clubs including, and even particularly, Bradford.”

St Helens have recently donated the proceeds of the away tickets from their recent home against the Bulls to the Bradford club, following the example of Leeds, who did a similar thing recently.

Between them, St Helens and Bradford have won 9 of the 16 Super League championships, and in only one year since it began, have neither reached the Grand Final – back in 1998.

St Helens beat the Bulls in the 1999 and 2002 Grand Finals.

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