Newcastle's director of rugby Rob Andrew yesterday called on Premier Rugby and the Rugby Football Union to settle the row over player availability before it overshadows the start of the new season.
The debate centres on whether the 11-week rest period for England internationals, which was agreed between the two parties in 2001, applies to players who toured with the Lions to New Zealand.
The RFU want the likes of Martin Corry and Steve Thompson to be given a full 11-week rest before they start playing again.
But the clubs believe that agreement does not take the Lions into account and are set to play their star men when the Guinness Premiership kicks off next weekend.
It is ten years to the week since rugby went professional but the same old issues are being debated and Andrew, for one, is frustrated that no solution has been found.
"My understanding is it still hasn't been finalised what the position is for next week. It's been there all summer and everyone has well aware of it and it hasn't been sorted," he said.
Newcastle have no Lions available for next weekend, given Jonny Wilkinson is recovering from an inflamed appendix, though Mathew Tait and Phil Dowson both played for England in the Churchill Cup final.
But Andrew needs to know the ruling because Sale plan on fielding their Lions Charlie Hodgson, Andy Titterrell and Mark Cueto plus England forward Chris Jones.
Premier Rugby would not be drawn on the chances of the clubs being given a ruling by the start of next week but there appears to be a real danger the launch of the new Premiership could turn into a public relations disaster.
Premier Rugby's new chief executive, Mark McCafferty said: "We have continuing discussions going on with the RFU to bring some clarity to it ahead of the season's start and that is what we expect to do fairly shortly." The new season was given a lavish launch yesterday to celebrate Guinness' £20 million investment into the Premiership and a new-look structure for the season.
Premier Rugby have managed to simplify the controversial end- of season play-offs.
The Premiership semi-final and overly complex wildcard play-offs, which have been in place for the past three years, have been replaced by straight Premiership semi-finals.
Under the new format, the team finishing top after 22 league games will have a home tie against the side finishing fourth, while second host third. The winners then contest the Premiership title in the Guinness Grand Final at Twickenham.
European places will now go to the top four teams in the regular season plus the Powergen Cup winners.