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Folau’s amateur rugby leauge hopes hit contract hurdle


Israel Folau’s hopes of returning to rugby league at amateur club Southport were thwarted on Wednesday with Queensland authorities refusing his registration due to a contract issue.

Israel Folau returned to Australia from the Catalan Super League side.
Photo: Photosport

The dual code international is looking to play with his two brothers at Southport Tigers in the Gold Coast amateur competition, two years after he was sacked by Rugby Australia for social media posts deemed discriminatory by rugby union’s governing body.

The Queensland Rugby League (QRL) said it could not register Folau because he had not provided confirmation of his release from a contract with his previous team.

Folau played a season for French side Catalan Dragons before quitting the Super League club last year and returning to Australia with his family.

“The QRL cannot proceed with any registration approval until such time as the clearance is received,” the QRL said in a statement.

The QRL added that it would clear Folau to play at a “community rugby league level and no higher” once they received his clearance.

Folau’s return has been backed by Southport’s team patron Clive Palmer, a billionaire mining magnate who earlier this week threatened legal action against the QRL if it refused to register the 32-year-old.

The league said it was “astounded … that public commentary has included threats of protracted legal action”.

Folau played rugby league for Australia before switching to Australian Rules in 2011, jumping codes once again to rugby union in 2013.

A fundamentalist Christian, Folau had his Wallabies and Super Rugby deals terminated in 2019 after posting a meme that said hell awaited “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers” and others.

A return to the top-flight National Rugby League with the St George Illawarra Dragons was scuppered in February after reports of negotiations sparked a backlash from LGBT rights groups, some fans and sponsors.

The QRL said previous social media comments made by Folau “do not align to the beliefs of the game, or the QRL”.

– Reuters

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