Rugby League: Lindsay accused of merger plot

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The chairman of the Australian Rugby League, Ken Arthurson, has accused the British Super League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, of wanting to scrap this autumn's tour and to merge the game with rugby union.

Great Britain are due to play Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Zealand, but Arthurson says that the only way the tour can be made viable is by playing the ARL.

"I believe if Maurice had his way the whole tour would be scrapped," Arthurson said. "The crazy thing is that if his News Limited controllers would let him he could still turn the whole thing into a huge success by playing the ARL's world champion Kangaroos."

Lindsay, who is also chairman of Super League's international board, insisted yesterday that it will go ahead as planned. He called Arthurson's comments "carping from someone who has lost his position and refuses to recognise Super League".

Arthurson also accused Lindsay of wanting to see a merger between league and union. "We are seeing Maurice for what he is - a man whose ambition is to see rugby league die at the hands of rugby union," he said.

"It's what his masters want and it's no coincidence that it is Sky television trying to destroy the historic Five Nations' series by isolating England. Nobody should forget that the contracts which bind the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union are with the same News Limited organisation, and for similar durations. Mr Lindsay has both sports primed for a merger that nobody wants."