At a recent fans forum Peter Hood announced that Leeds were suing the Bulls for £3.2 million over the 'Harrisgate' affair. A court date is due at some time during 2009 when the legal teams for both side will each take a lot of money out of the game to invest in their fast cars and villas in the south of France. The outcome of this High Court battle is that one side will be left footing an enormous bill, and if Leeds win then the Bulls will be faced with winding up.|
First of all lets look at some of the facts according to rabid Bulls fan Dave Craven in the T&A.
Harris was found guilty of breaching the terms of his contract with Leeds in that he had failed to honour a clause to return to Headingley after his foray into the 15-a-side game.
Bradford were found guilty of inducing Harris to break his contract with Leeds when he joined them from Cardiff.
In essence, Bradford offered Harris more money than he would have been on at Leeds and greed got the better of common sense and loyalty and the Harris ended up at Odsal.
Leeds are in the driving seat and are the ones that have brought the action. The massive figure of £3.2 million which is being claimed is due to the lost merchandising opportunities, season ticket sales, and any transfer fee that would have been due. What are Leeds options from here on in?
Drop the action and let Bradford and Harris 'get away with it'.
Settle 'out-of-court' for a lesser amount than that being claimed.
Continue with the action and if win, claim the £3.2 million within 14 days and bankrupt the Bulls.
Continue the action and if win, claim a lesser amount that would seriously hurt the Bulls but not force them out of business.
I place my trust in the Chief Executive (did I say that out loud). He has the interests of the game at heart, but feels that he has to prove a point and not allow Bradford to set an alarming precedent. Clubs cannot be allowed to induce players to break their contracts and players need to be taught that when they sign an agreement they have to honour it.
I doubt that even if we win the action that Leeds would force the Bulls out of business, as this would only hurt the game and remove the biggest local derby in the game from the fixture calender.
Gary Hetherington doesn't hide his dislike of ex-Bulls chairman Chris Caisley but this whole affair forced Caisley out of his job at Bradford, and he would have hoped that falling on his sword would have made this problem go-away. The action is now underway, if we drop the action we'll have a massive legal bill to foot. We have little choice other than to see this through and ensure, in the interests of the game, that justice is seen to be done.