It is a start, and Bradford will be looking to make the most of it – with the Bradford Bulls club, formerly in danger of being kicked out due to financial restraints, awarded a one-year probationary licence by the RFL Board of Directors, for the 2013 ESL season.

The decision means the ESL will remain a 14-team competition, and ends any lingering uncertainty about the structure of the competition for next year.

Nigel Wood, the RFL Chief Executive said: “This is a very positive development which provides stability for all the clubs in Super League and the Championship, and allows the sport to approach next season with even greater confidence.

“The Board deliberated long and hard, and took into consideration the many views of the sport’s various constituents before reaching a decision which we believe, is in the best interests of the whole game.

“The new owners of Bradford Bulls are to be congratulated on their foresight in purchasing a club which we always knew was a very attractive proposition. Their investment in Bradford Bulls is a vote of confidence in Super League.

“A probationary licence allows us to closely monitor the performance of Bradford Bulls next season, and develop a view on what direction we take in future years. That direction will be framed by the ongoing strategic policy review that we expect to present to clubs in the first half of 2013.

“The probationary licence also precludes the need for a mini-licensing round, which the overwhelming majority of clubs accept was impractical given the timeframes involved.

“The RFL Board and Executive will continue to work with all member clubs to build on the terrific progress we have experienced in 2012.”

By ricky

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