Looking to the future

Benbow intent on helping Bradford's players remain in employment

Last Updated: 09/08/12 10:20am

Ernie Benbow told Boots 'n' All that the 1eague13 Players' Union is doing all it can to safeguard the futures of Bradford's playing staff.

"What we are trying to do with the RFL and Super League is to talk about any safety net mechanisms to assist the players."

Ernie Benbow

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A number of offers, including one from Super League (Europe), have been submitted to buy the financially-stricken Bulls, who entered administration in June.

But with none of those bids yet accepted, the Yorkshire side - Super League champions on four occasions since 1997 - still face the very real threat of liquidation at the end of the season.

Benbow serves as the chief executive of the Players' Union and says a number of discussions have been held that will hopefully help Bradford's players find alternative clubs, as well as aid those who could be out of work should the Bulls fold.

"For the players who are out of contract in 2012, we did seek permission from the administrator for them to speak to other clubs in seek of alternative employment and he refused permission," he said.

"I then spoke to Blake Solly (the RFL's director of licensing and standards) and invoked a particular rule saying his [the administrator's] refusal was unreasonable and the RFL gave us permission to instruct the players that they were okay to seek alternative employment

"As for the players contracted until 2013 or 2014, we are hopeful that we will get some news this week that means we can tell the players they can talk to other clubs.


"It is a thing to manage on a player-by-player basis and it depends on who picks up the players and how many are picked up as to what we do with those that are left behind.

"But what we are trying to do with the RFL and Super League is to talk about any safety net mechanisms to assist those players."

Bradford coach Mick Potter - who, despite the off-field situation, has guided his charges into play-off contention - is currently working unpaid and has revealed he is considering returning to Australia if there is not a quick resolution to the Bulls' plight.

"The frustration is there for him because he has to go home to his family and say: 'I don't know what's going on and if I will remain in employment'," said Boots pundit Terry O'Connor. "It's very tough time but you have to commend what he and the Bradford staff have done."

Former Wigan star Barrie McDermott added: "The Bradford saga is like my granddad's cardigan: the more people tug at the thread the more damage they do. It is a desperate situation.

"Funnily enough, though, Potter has enhanced his reputation after leaving St Helens last year and coming to Bradford, which was already a rocky ship, let's say."