Cummins fears more player exits
3:01pm Thursday 27th February 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Bradford coach Francis Cummins has described the situation at the Bulls as "anarchy" and admits he is worried about losing more players to the "vultures" following the collapse of the latest takeover plan.
The crisis-torn Super League outfit is back in the hands of administrators after Bradford Bulls 2014 Ltd, the company set up to take over from OK Bulls Ltd, withdrew its offer when the club were docked six competition points.
Sunday's home game against London Broncos is not in doubt and the players were assured their monthly wages would be paid on time this week when they returned to training on Wednesday morning.
Cummins, who was updated on the current situation by the administrator on Wednesday, is confident his team can overcome the points deduction but fears their survival hopes could be scuppered by further departures.
Two clubs will be relegated from Super League to make way for a new 12-team competition from 2015 but Cummins distanced himself from former chairman Mark Moore's assertion that the points deduction means a drop into the Championship is "almost a certainty".
"I disagree with him on the football side, as long as I can keep the players I've got and there's options to bring in some young players on loan," Cummins said.
"With the group of players I've got, I believe we're six points better off than some other teams.
"But we've got to be able to service the business. We've lost some players through this already and, if others are allowed to leave, then basically we're just being kept alive.
"We're just a life support to enable other clubs to function."
The Bulls lost new signing Garreth Carvell to Hull and Australian half-back Jarrod Sammut to Wakefield during the club's dip into administration and Cummins says illegal approaches are still being made to his players.
"There is stuff going on now," he said. "The vultures have been circling for months.
"It's been anarchy for months and it's still anarchy now because I've got people tapping up players.
"This is not just agents. We've had coaches getting players to ring our players up. They're getting pressure from other people to join their club.
"But they're allowed to do it because of the situation we're in. The silence is deafening within the game.
"Nothing is being done, it's anarchy. It's been stated (to the Rugby Football League) but I'm not going to hold my breath."
Bradford lost Welsh international forward Craig Kopczack during their last change of ownership in 2012 and chief executive Robbie Hunter-Paul admits Tuesday's dramatic turn of events could once more leave them vulnerable.
Hunter-Paul, the club's former captain who is remaining as chief executive, is hoping other clubs do not take advantage of the Bulls' difficulties.
"It's the same situation we were in two weeks ago," he said. "The contracts are transferred to the administrator.
"It's a really grey area. Clubs will do what clubs will do. You would hope with the term rugby league family, people would act like a family."
Cummins admits there could be temptation for his players to depart the beleagurered club.
"I couldn't blame anyone for leaving," he said. "You are talking about player welfare and it's torture.
"It felt like we were starting to move forward, then the rug gets pulled again.
"You are asking how long mentally people can hang in there. To have the guts ripped out again is not nice."
Cummins will be hoping history can repeat itself when London visit Odsal on Sunday.
The Broncos were the opponents in July 2012, a fortnight after Bradford had gone into administration for the first time, and the Bulls, then coached by Australian Mick Potter with Cummins as his assistant, triumphed 44-12.
Cummins, who insists he will not be offering to work without pay as he did in 2012, is confident his players can once more put the off-field distractions to one side.
"They're still a little bit raw," he said. "The one thing they have got is character and they've had to bounce back.
"I've not got anyone where I'm thinking: 'maybe you don't play this week because your head's not there'.
"There is frustration, that we're in this same situation again, but it's probably calmer than it's been in the past."
The RFL, which was set to put Bradford into special measures preventing them from making any further signings due to their financial instability, is working with the administrators to find new buyers.
London-based businessman Richard Lamb, who had a bid rejected by the administrator last week, has confirmed he is still keen to buy the club and it is thought Bradford City could renew their interest.