Major News

Thursday 23 May, 2002

The Cull

See also: 28th of June, 2002 The players came back.

PFA want City expelled as administrators sack sixteen

Wayne Jacobs, Gary Walsh, David Wetherall and Benito Carbone head up the list of players who have been released by the Bradford City administrators as contracts of all but the lowest paid members of the squad were ripped up. BfB editor Michael Wood looks at the future as for City, if there is one, after sixteen players are sacked while Jon Blakely looks at City on the brink.

The PFA, who described City's administrators decision to sack 16 players as "Disgraceful", are expected to make renewed calls for the Bantams to be expelled from the league a sombre thought considered by Michael Wood in his column Thinking about a future without Bradford City.

PFA Deputy chief executive Mick McGuire said that City's move "Puts the whole game in jeopardy". McGuire said To say we're shocked and disgusted is an understatement- clubs have contracts to follow which are sacrosanct. If administrators choose to disregard regulations in this way that has far-reaching implications for football as a whole- players can then unilaterally breach contracts in the way the Bradford administrators have done. If everyone disregarded what they had promised that would set a precedent and a base mark for other clubs to do that. It sends its own message to Bradford when a club behave as dishonourably as this."

The players of City have also suggested that they might be prepared to take legal action against the Bantams, although such action would seem to lack focus, while City's administrators claim that the sackings will save City £20,000 a day.

Players whose contracts have been terminated
Players who remain at the club with any level of experince

In effect the administrators have cut the team down to four players. Youth-team boss Steve Smith, kit man Alan Jackson and fitness coach Kevin Hornsby have also been told to leave Valley Parade.

Will the Bantams be kicked out of football?

There is now a serious issue as to how football will react to City breaking contracts in a manner that, in the past, has not been allowed by a football league club. The PFA have promised to look for City to be expelled from the league should the administrators pursue the course of action they have.

The devil in the detail

Bradford City's administrators are leaving the future of the club to the good faith of the Football League. After sacking 16 players Kroll Buchler Phillips state "In arriving at our decision, we have not contravened the Football League Regulations. We are aware that pursuit to Article 6 the Board of the Football League has an absolute discretion in deciding whether a purchaser becomes a member of the Football League. We are confident that the Board of the Football League will, upon a sale of this club, agree to a purchaser of the club being a member and will exercise its discretion in good faith acting reasonably and take into account public policy consideration and the interests of football as a whole."

"We are also confident that as part of our reconstruction plan once a buyer is found - and we have received enquiries from 9 interested parties - and the club is sold that Bradford City will exit Administration and its future will be secured. Once this occurs, Nicky Law, with the new owners will be able to begin planning for next season."

In other words Kroll Buchler Phillips think that the Football League clubs will understand City's situation and not bow to pressure from the PFA et al, who are sure to call for City's head after this, and allow City to continue in the league. If Kroll Buchler Phillips are wrong then 100 years of Bradford City history is over.

Football League meet with administrators

The Football League has met with the administrators of City to discuss the future of the club. "We want to hear things from the horse's mouth. There are collective bargaining arrangements with the Professional Footballers' Association and tearing up contracts is not a route we want to encourage teams to follow. It would create a precedent. What's then to stop a player giving one month's notice to a club and then heading off?"

"A lot of clubs are watching the situation at Bradford and we want to make sure that our rules and regulations are adhered to. There might be certain unscrupulous people who may want to use administration just as a means to off-load players. Administration is a legal detail to allow clubs to sort themselves out financially. I don't think there's any real threat of Bradford City not being in the league next season."