Major Hurdle In Izzy Folau's Return To Queensland Rugby
Folau Comeback Denied By QRL
The Queensland Rugby League (QRL) won't grant Israel Folau's request to play until given confirmation that that he's been officially release from his contract with French Super League team Catalan Dragons.
Folau announced his attempted comeback to rugby in a press conference last week, hopeful of signing with Gold Coast's amateur club Southport Tigers. Folau needs international clearance from his previous club before being contracted to the community club.
After rejection by the governing body of QRL, the former Queensland State of Origin representative joined forces with mining businessman Clive Palmer - who threatened to take legal action against the league if it was unable to confirm Folau's request.
Palmer placed his full support behind Folau at the Friday press conference, demanding that the decision needs to be ratified. Threatening to use a federal court injunction for religious discrimination if it does not give the green light.
“Israel Folau is a perfect role model for the game and the QRL needs to recognise that," Palmer said
“Israel doesn’t drink, smoke or take drugs. He has never been charged with a criminal offence. He loves his wife and his son. He has a rugby playing record second to none."
Folau’s 2019 contract with Rugby Australia was torn up in 2019 due to social media posts were he expressed homophobic views; including the belief that gay people will go to hell unless they repent their sins.
While the code-hopper is one major step from resurrecting his Australian rugby career, QRL officials are 'astounded' at threats of legal action.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the league made it clear that they do not condone the comments by Palmer.
“While the QRL acknowledges the differing views in relation to this application, the league is astounded that public commentary has included threats of protracted legal action should registration not be granted,” the statement said.
The French club made comments of their own, Catalan football manager Alex Chan was shocked to hear of Folau's attempted Australian league comeback.
“We still hold his contract, he’s still a registered player with Catalan Dragons. It was a big shock see what was put out there.
“We can’t just let thing happen like this. I’ve got to meet with the club president and our directors but I’ve already made our legal team aware of the situation that is starting to unfold.
“We need to start being pro-active from our end in case things start to escalate and go nasty.”
Folau signed with Catalan in January 2020 after his controversial social media comments, Chan said his club is hopeful that Folau will return to the UK Super League.
“We’re still ambitious to get Izzy to return to France and pick up the season with us."
The 32-year-old made 15 appearances with Catalan last season, scoring five tries.
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