Bradford Bulls go into liquidation

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Four-time Super League champions Bradford Bulls have gone into liquidation after failing to secure new owners.

The Yorkshire club, who won the World Club Challenge on three occasions, entered administration for the third time in the space of four years last November.

Administrators turned down a bid to buy the Bulls that emerged last month, with late interest from a different party withdrawn on Monday. The Rugby Football League (RFL) is willing to offer a place in the Championship to a new club in Bradford, though they would start the 2017 season with a 12-point deduction.

An RFL statement read: "The administrator of Bradford Bulls (Northern) Limited has confirmed that the club has ceased trading.

"While this is terribly disappointing and sad, it is not an entirely surprising development given the scale of debt incurred by the previous management of the club and the debilitating level of financial commitment already entered into for 2017.

"Accordingly, the RFL, through Rugby League Cares, intends to offer support to all staff and players who have had their employment terminated by the company ceasing to trade.

"To clarify the next steps for all concerned, the independent RFL board has met to determine how the future of professional rugby league in Bradford can move forward in 2017. 

"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 Championship to any new club in Bradford and that such a club start the 2017 season on minus 12 points.

"The RFL believes that rugby league needs Bradford and that Bradford deserves a strong and stable professional club and will work with all interested parties to deliver that outcome."