Rhinos make ticket offer to beleaguered Bulls
Leeds Rhinos are to put their bitter rivalry with Bradford Bulls to one side by donating money generated from away ticket sales from Friday’s Stobart Super League derby at Headingley to their ailing neighbours.
The beleaguered Bulls are in administration and have until Friday 27 July to find a buyer or face liquidation.
Bradford would normally be entitled to a small percentage from the sale of tickets sold by them for away games but the Rhinos are to donate all the proceeds in the hope of raising at least £50,000 for their rivals.
Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “The game has a collective responsibility towards those who have been hit by the Bulls’ current financial difficulties and we at Leeds Rhinos are keen to assist at this difficult time.
“We also want to attract a 20,000 crowd, create a good news story for rugby league and make this Friday a memorable occasion. Together we can achieve all that.”
Widnes Vikings made a similar gesture earlier this year during Bradford’s attempts to raise £500,000 in a bid to avoid going into administration.
Leeds, who yesterday beat Wigan Warriors to reach the Carnegie Challenge Cup final, are aiming to sell out the Western Terrace which houses away fans.
Bradford interim chief executive Gary Tasker, who says the offer applies only to tickets sold by his club beforehand, said: “This is a fantastic gesture from our neighbours and we appreciate it at this difficult time.
“In adversity you learn a lot about people and since my return I have been surprised by some of the calls I have received.
“However, I am not surprised that Leeds Rhinos have made this offer. The Rhinos have always seen the bigger picture for the game of rugby league and now we can look forward to a bumper crowd for the derby clash.
“Hopefully, we will have a Western Terrace full of Bulls fans on Friday night and tickets will be available all week from the Odsal ticket office.”
Bradford’s joint administrator, Brendan Guilfoyle, recently made 16 full-time staff redundant in an effort to slash the club’s wage bill and reduce running costs.
Head coach Mick Potter and his assistants Francis Cummins and Lee St Hilaire have all returned in a voluntary capacity while the players only received their July wages on Friday after the Rugby Football League advanced the club their share of television income.
That was a condition of Guilfoyle’s willingness to extend his deadline to conclude a deal with a group of local Asian businessmen known as the ABC consortium, who have emerged as the only potential saviours.