INTERNATIONAL Rugby League lurched into fresh controversy last night after the Australian Rugby League slammed their English counterparts over an "embarrassing" calendar mix-up.

Just months after a drama-filled World Cup, RFL officials yesterday officially announced the draw for this year's inaugural Four Nations tournament, to be played through October and November in England and France.

The problem was no one bothered to ask the ARL if they agreed to all the times, dates and budgets - leaving a furious ARL chief executive Geoff Carr wanting an explanation.

"We don't know what has happened," Carr told The Daily Telegraph. "The four nations is a partnership between the ARL, RFL and NZRL. We invite a fourth partner who will be France.

"There was a proposal put forward by the RFL but we had to wait for budgets to come through. We also hadn't signed off on venues, dates and times. Then for whatever reason, the RFL has put out a press release that wasn't approved by us.

"It was all premature and has caused unnecessary embarrassment.

"We hope to get an explanation from the RFL overnight. We didn't sign off on anything."

ARL officials first noticed the press release when it appeared on the Leeds Rhinos website.

But Carr said Australia would not consider boycotting the event.

The offending press statement read: "The first round of fixtures over the weekend of 24 and 25 October will see Harlequins RL's Twickenham Stoop ground host a repeat of last year's World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand. England will open their account against France at Doncaster's Keepmoat stadium.

"A week later England will play the Kangaroos at Wigan's JJB Stadium and New Zealand will travel across the channel to play France."

Richard Lewis, International Federation deputy chairman, was happily quoted in the media statement.

"Following last year's hugely successful World Cup, there is a lot of anticipation for this competition as all the teams involved will have something to prove," he said.

"New Zealand will be keen to show their World Cup final victory was not a fluke whilst Australia, under a new coach, will be all out for revenge to make up for the disappointment of losing their world title on home soil. England will be keen to recapture the form that saw them whitewash the Kiwis in 2007, and the French will be eager to grasp the opportunity to play in such a prestigious international competition especially with them hosting two games."