Whitehaven, one of last season’s relegated sides, have not been approached about replacing Bradford in the Championship for 2017.
The Bulls’ liquidation was confirmed on Tuesday, together with a statement from the RFL that said they would be keeping their spot open in the game’s second tier for a “new Bradford club.”
This is reportedly due to the feeling that a replacement club would simply not be able to get up to speed in time for the new season, which is little over a month away.
In its public statement on the Bradford news, the RFL said: “While a number of alternatives were considered the Board were most mindful of the planning already undertaken by all other clubs in the competition structure, the season tickets already purchased and the players and staff who will now be seeking employment in and around the sport in 2017.
“Accordingly the Board has agreed that the wider interests of the sport is best satisfied if it offers a place in the Kingstone Press Championship to any new club in Bradford and that such a club start the 2017 season on minus twelve points.”
It has prompted a mixed reaction amongst fans and media alike, with some saying that as a new club, the newco Bradford should be forced to start at the bottom of the professional game, as the newest club to the ranks, Toronto Wolfpack, have been.
Sources at Whitehaven have confirmed to Love Rugby League that their club has had “no contact” from anyone regarding the situation or asked if they would be willing to step up at short notice.
Discussions are ongoing with parties interested in forming a new Bradford club, and the feeling is that it is very unlikely that the new season will start without the Bradford name in the Championship.
Based on last season, starting with a -12 handicap, Bradford would need to win 15 of their 30 games to avoid relegation to League 1.
In 2016, the Bulls won 19 of 30 and their season, and ultimately the current era of the club, culminated with a Championship Shield Final victory over Sheffield.