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Bradford Bulls submit "expression of interest" to take over Odsall Lease

The Bradford Bulls have made an eleventh hour move with the deadline for bids to take over the Odsal Stadium lease fast approaching.

The Bulls have revealed to local media they have submitted their “expression of interest” in taking over the lease of the stadium.

In October, Odsal's lease was put up for sale and property consultancy Knight Frank was appointed to handle bids.

The stadium, which opened in 1934, is currently leased by the Rugby Football League Ltd (RFL) on a 150-year term from Bradford Council on a peppercorn rent.

Earlier in the bidding process, Bulls' chiefs had urged Bradford Council to "reacquire the lease from the RFL and deliver a community stadium for the sport in Bradford" - but the Council made it clear this would not be possible as it faced its own financial pressures.

Earlier this month, Knight Frank said there had been a “good deal of interest” in the stadium, as they reminded bidders that all expressions of interest must be received by the firm’s Leeds office by 12.30pm today, January 31.

And last night, Jason Hirst, CEO of the Bradford Bulls, spoke to the local media to reveal that the Bradford club had “submitted their expression of interest”.

Mr Hirst said: “Obviously, the key thing with the ground at the moment is the RFL, in the final quarter of the year, asked for expressions of interest in taking over the lease.

“The deadline for that is tomorrow (January 31),” Mr Hirst said last night.

“I can tell you we have just submitted our expression of interest.

“We’ll wait and see what happens with that.

“They haven’t given us a timeline but I’m sure it will be weeks not months.

“We’ll see what happens then and that will determine what we can and can’t do with Odsal, and whoever the new leaseholder is will have their ideas.

“At this stage, it’s a difficult question to answer.

“But the headline, if you like from that is that we just today (January 30) submitted our expression of interest.”

When asked what that would mean for the Bulls, Mr Hirst said: “It depends. We’re working on hypotheticals and we don’t know the terms and conditions yet, but it’s fair to say if we were the new leaseholder it would give us more flexibility to get things done.

“Beyond that, it’s hard to answer. If we do get the lease, two months down the line I could give you a more detailed response.

“It’s not because I’m hiding anything, it’s just all hypotheticals at the moment.

“I don’t want to deal in ‘ifs and buts’. If you live in ‘ifs and buts’ you can raise people’s expectations unduly. I’m happy to revisit that question.”

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