TALKING SPORT - Bradford crisis is farcical and embarrassing

Epalahame Lauaki against Bradford Bulls
Epalahame Lauaki against Bradford Bulls

HAD my phone switched off this morning.

Didn’t want to be put in the position of having to turn down the Bradford coaching job.

Events over at Odsal are nothing short of farcical, embarrassing and tragic.

Yesterday, the coaching staff were fired. This morning, the players were summoned to a meeting with the administrator. He cancelled without telling them.

They are now coach-less, clueless, and unsure whether Sunday’s match against London will be their last.

The RFL’s response? They issued a short statement yesterday to say they were ‘concerned’, and were speaking to all parties. Good to hear.

This is the same governing body, remember, which granted Bradford a B licence when it handed the three-year franchises out last summer.

Who scrutinised their books? Bullman the mascot?

So they’ll forgive me for not being reassured by their involvement.

And all the while, the sport they are charged to look after has been dragged through the mud and made to look like a laughing stock.

THE handling of the Bradford farce at least distracted many from the laughable build-up to the second England-Exiles game.

But to recap, first Steve McNamara ‘rested’ several stars including Sam Tomkins and Sean O’Loughlin – giving the impression even the coach isn’t taking the second game too seriously.

Then the Exiles, “the cream of rugby league’s overseas superstars” (the RFL’s words) named a B team, too. Even though – again I refer to the pre-match PR spiel – they will be “straining every nerve and sinew to avenge their 18-10 opening defeat.”

Rugby league fans are asked to shell out between £21 and £29 for a ticket to watch the “high octane rugby action” (PR again) at Huddersfield’s “24,500-seat haven of elliptical ball japery” (yep, you guessed it) Galpharm stadium.

And the worst part? Those same tickets are £10 each on the website Groupon.

You couldn’t make it up.

EXPLAINING why he left David Beckham out of the Team GB squad, Stuart Pearce said he couldn’t pick on sentiment.

And I agree with him on that.

He said he made the decision based solely on football grounds. And I agree with him on that, too.

And yet, I still can’t help feel a shred of sympathy for the ex-England captain.

He became the poster-boy for the Olympic bid and pictures of him carrying the torch were beamed around the world.

Unlike athletics, swimming, cycling and most of the other sports, this football squad is not the “best of Great Britain”.

It can’t be. Because there are no players from Euro 2012 involved, and the rules only allow for three players who are aged over 23.

A player shouldn’t be picked to sell tickets. I get that.

But I still can’t help shake the feeling that Pearce should have made an exception.