Kopczak quits Bradford on eve of Catalan clash with prop set for legal showdown with Bulls
12:07 GMT, 8 September 2012
Craig Kopczak is set for a legal showdown with Bradford after quitting the Super League club on the eve of Saturday's game against Catalan Dragons in Perpignan.
The 22-year-old prop made himself unavailable for the last match of the regular season after terminating his contract.
Kopczak, who was on Friday named in Wales' squad for the end-of-season triangular tournament involving England and France, is under contract to Bradford until the end of 2013 but opted to resign when the club's takeover went through last weekend.
The player's agent, Martin Shuttleworth, confirmed Kopczak had taken legal advice, drawing on legislation used in the recent Rangers case, namely the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations 2006 (TUPE).
Quitting: Kopczak (centre) has left the Bradford Bulls
In a statement, Shuttleworth said: 'Craig was notified by the joint administrators by letter dated September 3, 2012 that his playing contract had transferred with effect from August 31, 2012 to OK Bulls Ltd.
'He then served notice on the administrators that he objects to the transfer of his employment under the relevant TUPE legislation.
'The net effect of having served the notice is that he is deemed to have resigned with effect from August 31, 2012 and his employment with the club is automatically terminated.'
It is thought the highly-rated Kopczak is on the wanted list of several clubs, with Wigan and Huddersfield understood to be among the front-runners.
Bradford's acting chief executive Gary Tasker believes Kopczak has been approached by rival Super League clubs, contrary to a gentleman's agreement not to do so, and says the matter has been put into the hands of the club's solicitor.
'I'm bitterly disappointed that the player has taken advice which has resulted in him leaving the group at this late stage of the season,' Tasker told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus.
'The major disappointment in this episode is that a young player on a good contract doesn't normally terminate it unless he is being offered better terms elsewhere.
'At a meeting of Super League clubs several weeks ago, the clubs agreed unanimously that they would not approach Bradford's contracted players.
'It would appear that a club has broken ranks and made the player a better offer. It's now in the hands of our legal advisors to resolve it.'
The Rugby Football League are expected to ratify the takeover by local restaurant owner Omar Khan early next week and will then decide on the process for determining whether the Bulls can stay in Super League.