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Chris Caisley today announced his intention to step down as Chairman of the Bradford Bulls immediately following the Super League Champions' World Club Challenge game against Wests Tigers on 3 February. Caisley has been at the helm of the Bulls for over 16 years, since 1989, and during his stewardship the club has moved from relative obscurity to become the most successful club in the Super League era.
Caisley said, "I have been Chairman since 1989 and 16 years is a long time, but it is the right time to stand down for many different reasons. Throughout the lengthy period of my Chairmanship I have always had in mind the best interests of the club and our fantastic supporters, and I firmly believe that the time is right for us to close this particular chapter in the club's history and move forward positively into the second decade of Super League."
"My departure will present a fantastic opportunity for the Bulls to seek and attract the best possible replacement, someone with the necessary resources and business acumen, someone who can recognise the terrific opportunity which exists to build on our tremendous success and further develop the Bulls' brand, one of the most recognisable brands in UK professional sport."
Caisley added, "In addition, my goal was always to get the Odsal Sporting Village development scheme off the "ground" and in conjunction with Bradford City Council we have got the scheme to the point where it is just about there, subject to planning. The sports village will deliver superb sports and leisure facilities for the whole of Bradford and the surrounding area and it will enable the city of Bradford to play a major role in the Olympic Games in 2012. It has the very positive and invaluable support of Sport England and it will play a major part in the ongoing regeneration of the Bradford. The new Chairman will have a major role to play in this very exciting scheme"
During the period of Caisley's tenure as Chairman the Bulls won every major honour in Rugby League, being crowned Super League Champions in 1997, 2001, 2003 and 2005 and Minor Premiers in 1999, 2002 and 2004. They won the Challenge Cup in 2000 and 2003 and were beaten finalists in 1996, 1997 and 2001. The Bulls were crowned World Club Champions in 2002 and 2004 and are going for a hat trick of wins against the Australian champions, Wests Tigers, in February. Prior to the start of the Super League, in 1996, the Club also won the old Yorkshire Cup in 1989/90 and were beaten finalists in 1991/92 as well as being beaten finalists in the Regal Trophy in 1990/91 and 1992/93. In 2002 the Bulls even went to the home of English Rugby Union and won the Twickenham Sevens. The Club has appeared in 6 of the 8 Old Trafford Grand Finals that have taken place in the Super League era.
As to his successor, Caisley said, "I hope that he or she enjoys the privilege of heading up this great club half as much as I have done over the past 16 years or so. The World Club game will be my last as Chairman and Director and I hear that Wests Tigers are really preparing themselves well, so it is going to be a real tough game. I hope we can post the "house full" signs; it would be terrific to see the Galpharm Stadium packed out and supporting the Bulls on 3 February. I will save my goodbyes to Brian Noble, the players, directors and staff and all Bulls' fans who have given me such fantastic support over the years until we have got that game out of the way".