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9 May 2012, 10:44
Bradford chairman Peter Hood has quit the beleaguered Super League club to pave the way for new investment.
Hood and fellow director Andrew Bennett were expected to be removed from office later this month at an extraordinary general meeting convened by former chairman Chris Caisley but both stepped down today with immediate effect.
Hood said: "Andrew Bennett and I have concluded that the interests of Bradford Bulls and its players, coaches and staff are best served by us making way for Mr Caisley and his cohorts now, rather than awaiting an EGM at which we are bound to be out-voted''.
Hood, who has been on the club's board since 1999 and succeeded Caisley as chairman in 2006, had become resigned to his fate, hinting at his likely resignation at the Bulls' last home match last month.
He added: "Chris has indicated to me and also to chief executive Ryan Duckett that he has investors waiting in the wings who are ready, willing and able to get on board but apparently they are not prepared to do so under the present regime.''
It was Hood who announced on March 27 that the club needed £1million to stay in business and a major fund-raising exercise enabled them to reach half their target inside a fortnight.
However, a group of majority shareholders including Caisley who remains the major stakeholder, lost faith in the directors' efforts to take the club through the crisis and called an extraordinary general meeting for May 23.
Duckett is expected to stay and see through a takeover. Caisley, a Leeds-based solicitor who was chairman during the club's glory years in Super League where they reached five consecutive Grand Finals up to 2005, is expected to re-take his place on the board and lead a strategic review, initially to ascertain the extent of the club's financial problems.
The club raised sufficient funds to play the players' and staff wages for April and also to avert the threat of a winding-up petitition by HM Revenue and Customs over an unpaid tax bill, but the threat of administration remains.
The crisis was thought to have been prompted by Bradford's sale of the Odsal lease to the Rugby Football League earlier this year which removed their security with the Royal Bank of Scotland, who cut the club's overdraft as a result.
Former coach Brian Noble and former general manager Gary Tasker are thought to have been earmarked to play key roles in the review.