Former England coach Andy Robinson fears Test rugby could become a mirror image of international football if the game's latest club-versus-country row is not resolved in the latter's favour.
The International Rugby Board are trying to negotiate a short-term fix in the dispute between Scotland and English clubs over player release, which erupted last night.
Scottish Rugby lodged an official complaint with the IRB after Premier Rugby (PRL), the umbrella organisation representing Premiership teams, blocked players attending yesterday’s first training session of the new season at Murrayfield.
Premier Rugby insist they were within their rights to impose the blanket ban as they are only obliged to release players five days before an agreed quota of Test matches.
Their stance has infuriated Scottish Rugby, who want access to their players two weeks before every Test.
Robinson, who it was revealed on Monday will be involved in the selection of the Scotland team, knows all about the frustration of being denied access to his players from his time in charge of England.
He said: “Two weeks is the right time to prepare. I think everyone agrees it is, everyone knows it is.
“It’s just the fact that it’s not set down in the regulations and that needs to be looked at.”
He added: “We’re lucky with our sport that we have a great international set-up of matches.
“The television and media exposure we get is big.
“As soon as we diminish the international game, that will affect the way the club game is run.
“We’ve got to be careful we don’t go down the soccer route where the clubs are dictating who plays internationals.
“Everyone needs to understand the pinnacle for any player is to perform on the international stage.”
The IRB will meet at the end of November in a bid to ratify new regulations governing all aspects of player release.
However, Scotland play three crucial Tests earlier that month against New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, the results of which will determine their ranking for the 2011 World Cup draw.
The IRB are therefore attempting to thrash out a temporary agreement between Scottish Rugby and Premier Rugby.
An IRB spokesman added: “Everyone is hoping that common sense prevails, that custom and practice prevails.
“PRL have got no problem releasing players five days before Test matches. It’s slightly different now that Scotland want release for squad sessions.
“We’re talking to all parties to see what the best solution is.”