Bradford head coach Mick Potter described the decision to dock the Bulls six points for breaching the game's insolvency regulations as a "kick in the stomach".
The ailing Super League club had been bracing themselves for the announcement since entering administration on June 26 but Potter insists it is harsh on the players. The points deduction takes immediate effect and drops the Bulls out of the play-off positions ahead of Sunday's trip to Warrington.
Bradford have won three of their last four matches despite the massive uncertainty over the club's future to raise hopes of a top-eight finish for the first time in four years. Potter, who is working on a voluntary basis after being among 16 full-time staff made redundant by administrator Brendan Guilfoyle last month, said: "It's disappointing."
He went on: "It's no surprise. We understood that's what happens when you go into administration, it's part of the process for this type of thing.
"But it's a massive kick in the stomach for the players, who have done all they possibly could to get results, and also the fans, who have done over and above what they had to do. It's just disappointing, sitting on the sidelines waiting for your punishment, especially when you've not instigated any of it."
Bradford received the maximum penalty laid down in the Rugby Football League's operational rules.
The RFL board of directors exercised some flexibility by docking Wakefield and Crusaders four points when they entered administration on the eve of the 2011 season after taking into account the new owners' willingness to pay off some of the debts.
Although Guilfoyle has found a potential buyer, any deal is some way off being completed.
He has passed on details of a formal, written offer from the ABC consortium, a group of local Asian businessmen, to the RFL but it is conditional on them being able to buy back the lease to Odsal Stadium and receiving a guarantee on the Bulls remaining in Super League.
He has until this Friday to avoid putting the club into liquidation, although he has the option of a further extension of the deadline if he feels he can complete a deal.