A saga with more twists and turns than a Henry Paul run has taken a fresh tack with the announcement of a Global League featuring the 311 players aligned with Super League in Australia and set up on their behalf by Maurice Lindsay.
The 's chief executive has drawn up a fixture list for a 10-team competition, although it is not known where the new teams will play or what they will be called.
The move is the latest attempt to find a way round a judge's ruling that Rupert Murdoch's Australian Super League cannot start before the year 2,000.
The victorious Australian is due to start its own competition this weekend - two weeks' late - but will be without scores of the best players in the country, who are adamant that they will not play for the ARL following the failure of compromise moves.
The ARL will undoubtedly go to court again to try to get orders stopping the launch of the Global League.
Although Lindsay and the players say they are complying with the court orders by having nothing to do with Super League's backers at News Corporation, the ARL will argue that Global League is merely a Trojan horse, pointing out that Lindsay is also Super League's chief executive in Europe.
Lindsay believes that setting up the Global League could rescue the World Club Championship, with which the Super League seasons in both hemispheres were meant to climax.
"The Rugby Football League in England are not actively investing in the competition, although they are of course allowing me to put the Global League structure together," Lindsay said in Sydney yesterday, adding that he had sponsorship and television deals in negotiation.
The ARL chairman, Ken Arthurson, has said that he is prepared to fly to England for "peace" talks with the RFL aimed at solving the impasse over international fixtures. The deputy speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Geoffrey Lofthouse, has been asked to chair any meeting.Reuse content