Bradford agree stadium deal

Bradford Bulls Odsal Stadium.

Bradford Bulls owner Andrew Chalmers says a decision on whether or not to leave Odsal will be made last Thursday.

In his column in The Telegraph and Argus, Chalmers also revealed that the Bulls have agreed a ground share deal with Dewsbury Rams as a fall-back option, should their first choices fall through.

A move to Bradford City’s Valley Parade has been all but ruled out, while the club are currently calculating relocation and redevelopment costs surrounding Horsfall Stadium, home of Bradford Park Avenue.

Bradford owner Andrew Chalmers.

In his column, Chalmers said: “Firstly, we have been successful in negotiating an economically viable option for relocation and occupancy at the Tetley’s Stadium, Dewsbury, thanks to owner and chairman Mark Sawyer.

“This represents our fall-back position, if we are unable to achieve a viable deal within Bradford. I don’t envisage this would be a permanent arrangement, but would be part of a broader plan to develop our own facilities within a two to four-year period.

Dewsbury’s Tetley’s Stadium.

“Secondly, we have had discussions with Julian Rhodes, CEO at the Bantams. Valley Parade presents quite a significant number of issues. On the plus side Valley Parade would meet the RFL’s minimum standards.

“But the facts here are that the pitch will require a significant financial investment to enable it to be used for rugby league and football, and that the ballpark estimate for the pitch remediation ranges from £800k to £1.2m pounds.

“Obviously the Bantams aren’t going to fund this, and their present lease at Valley Parade expires on June 30 2028, although they do have an option to extend for another 25 years.

Valley Parade

“Such a remediation programme could only commence at the end of the current playing season, so at the earliest it would only be an option from 2021 if implemented. So from a timing and cost perspective, Valley Parade appears a non-starter, especially once you factor in the estimated hire costs and match day costs.

“Thirdly, we have been in discussions with Gareth Roberts, chairman and owner of Bradford Park Avenue, who are based at Horsfall Stadium.

“In its current state Horsfall Stadium would require additional investment in order to accommodate the requirements of the Bulls. This would involve additional infrastructure incorporating covered seating, standing terracing and sufficient toilet facilities to accommodate the estimated crowd numbers.

Horsfall Stadium

“We are in the middle of completing due diligence, which includes the cost of relocation and a cost for the additional infrastructure. We will keep everyone informed on this option.

“I would certainly see Horsfall Stadium as only a short-term option, assuming it is economically viable. Fortunately, as we do with Dewsbury, we have an excellent relationship with the owner Gareth and our two clubs have worked together in the off-field and back office areas for the last 18 months.

“This option also requires approval from the RFL for relocation, which we believe would be granted, providing the RFL’s minimum standards are met.”