Bulls down after dropping appeal
Bradford Bulls have dropped their legal challenge to the points deduction imposed by the Rugby Football League in February, which confirms their relegation from Super League.
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The Bulls, who were docked six points for going into administration for the second time in two years, lost an appeal against the six-point deduction on June 11 but chairman Marc Green announced a fortnight later their decision to go to the High Court in a bid to have the ruling over-turned.
However, they have lost all four matches under new coach James Lowes since then and are currently 13 points from safety with just six matches left of the regular season.
A spokesperson for the Bradford board of directors said in a statement: "As part of our last press release on the matter, the directors indicated the club would only proceed with legal action in the event it would be of potential benefit to the Bulls.
"With a heavy heart and a degree of reluctance, the board have therefore taken the decision not to pursue any legal challenge to the points deduction imposed earlier this season.
"For the record, the original appeal against the points deduction was correct and amongst other factors, was as a result of the Rugby Football League's policy and procedure being flawed.
"Following the hearing by the sporting sanction appeal panel, we felt the decision was legally incorrect and all the advice from our legal advisors confirmed this.
"In fact, our appeal has not only endorsed the review of the insolvency policy currently being undertaken by the RFL, but has expedited it - which can only benefit the sport as a whole."
Lowes accepted the club's fate in the wake of Sunday's 52-26 defeat at Huddersfield and began to turn his attention to their campaign in the Kingstone Press Championship in 2015.
The statement continued: "It is important we now focus firmly on the future in order to return Bradford Bulls back to its rightful place among rugby league's elite. We will not achieve this by looking back and investing further in the past.
"More importantly, the board feel our supporters need closure on what has been, for them, a horrible part of the club's history, allowing us to focus on the future.
"The club would like to place on record its thanks for the considerable support it has received during these difficult times especially from our legal advisors.
"The current board, the chairman and his fellow directors wish the club and all associated with it to know of the continued commitment to this great sporting institution and we look forward to continued support from the supporters and sponsors."
Lowes, who expects a host of players to leave. has drawn up a list of potential replacements and has received a boost from the decision of stand-off Lee Gaskell and second rower Dale Ferguson to stay loyal to the club.
Both players joined Bradford on the eve of the season on two-year deals from Salford and Huddersfield respectively and on Monday signed fresh contracts tying them to the club until the end of 2016, by which time the Bulls hope to be back in Super League.
Lowes said: "Both Lee and Dale are of high quality and we believe it is vital to our future success to retain as many members of our current squad as possible.
"Lee is going to be a key figure for us in the middle of the park and, as we have seen this season, he can be very versatile.
"Dale's attitude is great - he is fantastic to have around the place. He is certainly a team player and I am excited about what he will bring to the party next year and beyond.
"This is a very strong club, with a bright future ahead, and, to those doubting that, I believe this announcement is a real statement of intent.
"We are in the process of building a squad for next season and this is just the start for us."