Bradford Bulls in "special measures" as move to Dewsbury Rams allowed for one season only following Odsal exit

Bradford Bulls' Odsal Stadium
Bradford Bulls' Odsal Stadium

THE RUGBY FOOTBALL LEAGUE has “reluctantly” approved Bradford Bulls’ application to play home matches at Dewsbury’s Tetley’s Stadium in 2020 - but says the club’s plans to return to the city “lack credibility” and has banned them from signing players.

Bradford announced just over a week ago that they would be moving in with their Championship neighbours for 2020 and 2021, claiming they could no longer afford to stay at their traditional home of Odsal.

The RFL - who bought the leasehold at Odsal from Bulls in 2012 - initially said they had not received any such application and would need to ratify it.

They released a statement tonight, however, that read: “The RFL Board of Directors has conditionally approved an application from Bradford Bulls to play home matches.

“This permission has been granted reluctantly and on the basis that the club’s intention is to return to Bradford in the near future.

“On the evidence so far submitted, the club’s plans for this return lack credibility and therefore the approval is only for the 2020 season.

“The RFL Board feel that the information provided so far in relation to the move to Dewsbury is incomplete and therefore it is a condition that the club provide further financial information on the impact of the move.

“Until this is provided to the satisfaction of the RFL the Club will remain in special measures and is not permitted to sign players.”

The statement continued: “Based on the information received the RFL feel that this decision made by the Bradford Bulls directors is a poor one; however ultimately the Board of that club is responsible for determining what is in the best interests of Bradford Bulls.

“The actions taken by the club leave little alternative but to grant this request in order to avoid disruption to trading, but only on a time-limited basis which will allow space for a more comprehensive review.

“As the Bulls have vacated Odsal, the RFL will in due course consider all options for the site.”

Bradford’s final game at their home of 85 years is scheduled to be against Sheffield Eagles on Sunday week.