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Capital chance to sign Bishop

AUSTRALIAN Opals star Abby Bishop could return to the WNBL - and potentially the Canberra Capitals - next season, after a pay dispute in France.

While Bishop remained coy about her chances of returning to the Australian domestic competition, Fairfax Media understands the Capitals are interested in luring the London Olympian back and have begun informal talks.

The 24-year-old power forward is under contract with Perpignan for another season, but revealed many of the team's players had not been paid since January and she would return to France only if they were competing in the prestigious Euro Cup.

Bishop will spend at least the next three months in Canberra to prepare with the Opals for the World Cup qualifying series against New Zealand, including a match at the AIS Arena on August 18.

Bishop has been part of three titles with Canberra and would be a perfect fit for the Capitals, who are still on the hunt for some bigs.

Bishop, who played at last year's London Olympics, would not comment on the prospects of returning to the WNBL, but couldn't hide her affection for Canberra.


''Canberra is my base now and I've lived here for a while,'' Bishop said. ''To have the opportunity to play for Australia in front of the Canberra crowd would be great.''

The Capitals have begun to put the pieces into place for next season as the seven-time champions look to return to the play-offs.

They have already secured six-time WNBL winner Natalie Hurst, the point guard coming back to Canberra after a stint in France.

Bishop revealed her time in France had been challenging.

''I'm signed with my French team at the moment, but there's quite a few issues,'' Bishop said.

''A lot of the players haven't been paid since January. If I go back, it will only be if the team is in Euro Cup.''

Perpignan exceeded all expectations to finish fourth in the French league as the players aimed to send a message to the club's owners courtesy of winning performances on the court.

''We [the players] wanted to stick together,'' Bishop said.

''We're going to play, we're going to win, even though you're not paying us, you can feel that guilt yourself, but it kind of backfired because we never got paid.

''Anyway, we came fourth and did well, now they have to pay us our bonuses on top of what they already owe us.''

Bishop said the French government underwrites sporting teams if they go bankrupt, and she said it could take three months or a year for her to be paid.

''I'm not really too stressed about it,'' she said. ''You get everything paid for, it's just your living expenses.''