Rovers chief backs decision to keep Bradford Bulls in Championship

Rovers chairman Mark Campbell: "The game needs a strong Bradford."
Rovers chairman Mark Campbell: "The game needs a strong Bradford."

Featherstone Rovers chairman Mark Campbell has backed a decision to allow Bradford Bulls to operate as a Kingstone Press Championship club in 2017 after they were liquated earlier this week.

Campbell believes the Bulls can rebuild as a second-tier outfit, having been told they could re-enter the Championship with a 12-point deduction and the minimum level of central funding this season, should a takeover be completed in the coming weeks.

Campbell claims the Rugby Football League had to provide Bradford with a place in the Championship, insisting a move to League One would have been unthinkable for those involved in the sport’s third professional tier.

“At this stage in the season I feel the Rugby Football League have made the only decision they could do by placing Bradford back in the Championship – with a 12-point deduction,” said Campbell.

“They have done right by League 1 clubs, in my opinion, as I have to look at it as though I was running one of those clubs.

“If I was a looking to get promoted out of that division this year, given Toronto are pretty much certain to go up, I would be very unhappy with the Bulls coming in.

“Bradford in League One would more than likely crush any other club’s hopes of getting promoted and owners who have spent money, bidding to make the Championship for 2018, would rightly feel disgruntled.

“Keeping the Bulls in the Championship is the right thing to do and it should not affect them massively. Although they are going to have to operate on low funding, they should, by rights, still have good income.

“They have the biggest fanbase in the competition and a massive following of passionate fan, who love their club.

“Then there is the Summer Bash, which in itself is an issue and Bradford have played a strong part in it over the years. How that would work without their involvement is difficult to consider and them not being there would throw up all sorts of fixture issues.

“Equally, it would have been unfair to place either Toronto or Whitehaven in the Championship, four weeks from the start of the season, given what is at stake for those clubs this year.

“However, I do feel that the Rugby Football League have certainly got to nail their due diligence on whoever takes control of Bradford this time around.”

“I firmly believe the competition and, more importantly, the game needs a strong Bradford and it will be interesting to see how things develop there as the weeks go by.”