Antipodeans put the future of Paris in peril

Rugby League
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Paris St-Germain will go into the pivotal weekend of their short existence with a cloud of uncertainty over their future.

The authorities in France are looking into allegations that the club's Australian and New Zealander players have been travelling in and out of the country without work permits and that the club has not made tax payments on their behalf.

The Rugby Football League - in whose European Super League Paris play - said yesterday that the club's treasurer was discussing the matter with the French authorities.

Harry Jepson, a member of the RFL's board of directors and - along with Maurice Lindsay - an advisory director of Paris, said: "I don't know what's going to happen now. Paris's existence is in the hands of our clubs and they could ask whether it is all worth it.

"I still think it is, but others might not agree. The best thing we could do in the meantime is to beat Wigan on Saturday."

Paris's gates have declined from more than 17,000 for their inaugural game against Sheffield last season to a few hundred for recent games.

"We have proved that we can attract good crowds when everyone is pulling together, but that has not been happening recently," Jepson said. The League believes that disgruntled former employees could be behind the club's latest problems.

Scotland's cautious international progress should not be set back by their late defeat by France in Glasgow this week, according to their coach, George Fairbairn. "It's very disappointing to lose because of what the referee later admitted was a mistake on his part, but there were a lot of good things in the performance," he said.

"What we need now is more games in Scotland."

League officials who attended the match at Partick Thistle's Firhill Park will recommend that a Super League fixture be staged at the ground next season.

Castleford are likely to be without two key players for their relegation showdown with Oldham tonight. Their prop forward, Dean Sampson, was suspended for one match yesterday, after being sent off after the end of their match against Bradford for punching, while their scrum-half, Mike Ford, is struggling to recover from a hamstring injury.

Paul Cullen, the Warrington player-coach, is to retire as a player after bring told that he needs a fifth major operation on the same knee.

Australia's Test full-back, Brett Mullins, has pulled out of Canberra Raiders' trip to England for the return games in the Visa World Club Championship. Mullins has been given permission to miss the matches against Wigan, Halifax and London, because his partner is expecting their second child.

Halifax, who conceded 204 points during their disastrous visit Down Under, are cutting admission prices for the home matches against Canberra, Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury. Tickets for all three games are pounds 20 for adults and pounds 5 for juniors.