Import row rolls on

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The Independent Online

A promise of no disciplinary action yesterday led the Budweiser League's moves to calm the storm caused by a players' boycott of this week's All- Star Game, writes Duncan Hooper.

Having learned that players had considered extending their protest to this weekend's league games, the League decided to move towards talks with the Players' Association.

Mike Smith, the chief executive, said: "There is no question of any disciplinary action. We're very disappointed they didn't play in Wednesday's game, but this situation highlights that we plainly need a better relationship with the players."

Seven England internationals, all members of the BPA, which represents more than 50 per cent of league players, boycotted the game in protest over the League's decision to scrap the "two foreigners" limit for next season.

The League and club owners fear an exodus of leading players to richer European leagues, and have lifted restrictions to allow more imports into the domestic competition.