RFU PRESIDENT WARNING ON PACKER RUGBY DEAL

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Bill Bishop, the new president of the Rugby Football Union, has warned England players that they would be "on their own" if they joined a proposed professional circus reportedly being planned by the Australian television magnate Kerry Packer.

Packer is believed to be setting up an international circus designed to win the battle against Rupert Murdoch for televised rugby union supremacy in the Southern hemisphere.

Bishop said: "English players would be on the outside of our game if they signed up. They would relinquish all rights in English rugby. If they went, they would be on their own."

Packer wants to launch his international teams outside the authority of the domestic unions. If a player were to sign, he would probably take on the status of a professional and therefore be banned.

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