Rugby League: Players warned about switching

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Maurice Lindsay, the Rugby Football League chief executive, has told players they should not be in such a rush to switch to rugby union, even on a part-time basis. He has written to the Super League clubs pointing out that many of the big names have received loyalty payments from News Corporation which means they have a commitment to the Super League backers.

Many leading players, including Wigan's Va'aiga Tuigamala and Henry Paul, want to play all year round, league in the summer and union in the winter.

"The board are alarmed at the number of players who want to play back- to-back rugby," Lindsay said. "We have reminded the clubs that we have an pounds 87million contract and, under the terms of that contract, surely it is expected that our players will get a period of rest before next season.

"There has been rather a lot of naivete displayed by some players who think they can play rugby 12 months a year. Well, they can't.

"Anyone who has had a loyalty bonus will have to get written permission to play and I think it's highly unlikely that any of them will be able to go.

Martin Offiah's recent move from Wigan to London Broncos was delayed because News Corporation were reportedly unhappy that Bedford rugby union club would have had first call on the player's services when the seasons overlapped.