- 3 updates
The Bradford Bulls are to take legal action for " breach of contract " following former England international Gareth Carvell's move to Hull FC.
A spokeperson for the Bulls said:"This information has come as a great surprise to all of us at the club. We believed that due to Gareth taking wages since last year and the fact that he still now has a club sponsored car we would be able to come to an understanding that would work out for all.
"We have now been left with no alternative but to take legal action.
“A letter was sent to Carvell from the club explaining that they did not accept his refusal to transfer to Bradford Bulls 2014 Ltd, adding that his playing contract will only allow him to resign if the club is guilty of serious and persistent breach of the terms and conditions of this agreement.
“We are of the opinion that no such breach has taken place and therefore we assert that he was not entitled to resign from his position as the transfer of his employment in itself does not constitute a serious or persistent breach of the terms and conditions of his agreement.
“The letter went on to explain the Agreement, which was entered into last year, is with “the Club” being referred to as “Bradford Bulls”. The change in ownership does not affect this Agreement given that Bradford Bulls remains as the "Club.“
"The letter finished off by requesting that Carvell return to work/training immediately.
“The club’s board will now turn back to the governing body to request guidance in this matter as well as moving forward with their own legal action.
"The board in no way wants to restrict a player from plying their trade but this and recent situations like this, could set an extremely dangerous precedent in regards to player contracts and, if all parties are not made accountable, they be viewed as ‘not worth the paper they’re written on’. "
Bradford have snapped up Warrington back-row forward Danny Bridge and are now on the lookout for a new prop following confirmation of Garreth Carvell's move to Hull.
Bulls coach Francis Cummins' already-slim resources were stretched further when Carvell, the club's major close-season signing from Warrington, pulled out of his two-year deal to return to his first professional club.
Carvell's move comes less than a week after Bradford issued a hands-off warning to Hull but it is thought the player was able to obtain a release from his contract due to the recent change of ownership.
Carvell is the second close-season signing to leave the Bulls without making a single Super League appearance, with second rower Frank Winterstein released at his own request.
Cummins has brought in Bridge, the 21-year-old younger brother of Warrington's former Bradford centre Chris Bridge, as a stop-gap measure, initially on a month's loan, and is now scouring the market for a front rower.
Bridge, who made two Super League appearances for the Wolves last season, trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Wednesday and, with an injury doubt over new signing Dale Ferguson, is likely to go straight into the Bradford side for Sunday's opening game against Castleford.
Bradford already have centre James Saltonstall on loan from Warrington and may make a move for Welsh prop Ben Evans, who spent last season on loan at Odsal but is in the Wolves squad for Thursday's game against St Helens.
The cash-strapped Bulls have lost star forwards John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead in the last six months but they received some good news this week with the decision of front rower Adam Sidlow and half-back Luke Gale to sign two-year contract extensions.
Gale, the club's new vice-captain, had been targeted by Hull and had already been linked with a move to Wakefield.
Hull have confirmed the signing of prop Garreth Carvell for a second time and named him in their squad for their opening Super League match of the season against Catalan Dragons at the KC Stadium on Friday.
The 32-year-old joined Bradford on a two-year contract from Warrington in the close season but played only one trial match for the Bulls before seeking a move.
Carvell, who made 164 appearances for the Airlie Birds from 2001-08 including two Challenge Cup finals and the 2006 Grand Final, returns to East Yorkshire on an initial one-year contract with an option for a further 12 months.