Israel Folau’s attempt to end his sporting exile with a small town Australian rugby league team received a boost on Wednesday, but the former Wallabies star was also warned that anti-gay views were not welcome in the game.
The Queensland Rugby League have said they are willing to let Folau play for community club Southport Tigers on the condition that he receives permission from his previous team, Catalans Dragons in France.
The governing body said if granted, Folau could play and would have to comply with league rules, which included “a proud cadre of diversity and inclusion.”
“The QRL recognizes that the previous comments on social networks made by Folau, although not registered in the rugby league at the time, do not correspond to the beliefs of the game or the QRL,” he said. he said in a statement.
Rugby Australia sacked Folau in a 2019 social media post, saying “hell awaits” gay people and others he sees as sinners.
This sparked a long-standing legal dispute that was ultimately settled when RA made a multimillion dollar out-of-court payment.
His drive to join Southport Tigers is backed by billionaire mining billionaire Clive Palmer, who has threatened legal action against anyone challenging the 32-year-old’s right to play.
QRL pointed out that it was a non-profit group formed to develop the game in the state of Queensland.
“The league is amazed that the public comments included threats of extended legal action if the recording was not granted,” he said.
Folau said last week that we were open to a return to the leading National Rugby League, but the QRL statement said any registrations granted would be for playing at the community level only.
The Australian Rugby League Commission has previously suggested it will not allow Folau to return to the league, with chairman Peter V’landys saying he wants an inclusive game.
Folau was a star player in the NRL early in his career, then moved on to rugby union after an unsuccessful stint playing Australian rules.
He scored 37 tries in 73 rugby union tests for the Wallabies before being dumped, then returned to the league in February last year in France with the Catalans Dragons.
© 2021 AFP