Bradford given Super League lifeline

PA Sport
Bradford Bulls have been granted a 12-month probationary Super League licence
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Bradford Bulls have been granted a 12-month probationary Super League licence

Bradford Bulls have been given the green light to continue in Super League but coach Mick Potter will not be part of the new-look club.

Uncertainty over the future of the four-times Super League champions was finally ended earlier this week when the takeover by local restaurant owner Omar Khan was ratified by the Rugby Football League.

And the good news continued on Friday when the Bulls were told by the RFL's board of directors they will not be relegated to the part-time Championship and will not have to compete with the leading Championship clubs in a mini-round of licensing.

Instead the new owners have been awarded a 12-month probationary Super League licence, effectively putting them on trial throughout 2013.

Bradford's honorary chairman Gerry Sutcliffe, a former Sports Minister and local MP, welcomed the announcement. "It's good news for the fans and for Bradford and now it's all systems go," he said. "We can start to implement our business plan and sell season tickets."

Bradford effectively forfeited their top-flight status in June when, unable to pay the bills after the bank withdrew their overdraft, they went into administration. That resulted in a six-point deduction and the threat of liquidation hung over the club right up to the last day of August when Khan announced he had agreed a deal to buy the club.

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: "A probationary licence allows us to closely monitor the performance of Bradford Bulls next season and develop a view on what direction we take in future years. The probationary licence also precludes the need for a mini-licensing round, which the overwhelming majority of clubs accept was impractical given the time frames involved."

The announcement brings to an end five months of anguish and adversity but it came too late for Potter who, after working unpaid for the last 10 weeks, has decided to return to Australia. Potter not to take up the offer of a new contract from the club's new owners and instead recommended his assistant Francis Cummins be appointed as his successor.

"I was always going to return to Australia and I feel that now is the right time for me to go," Potter said. "I have enjoyed my time at the Bulls and the supporters and people at the club are second to none."

He added: "Omar Khan and Gerry Sutcliffe have come in and rescued the club and were very keen for me to stay for a longer tenure and I made it clear to them that my decision has nothing to do with their purchase of the club. It has been the things that have happened over the previous five months that have caused my decision."

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