Super League issue statement on Israel Folau

Super League votes for'authority to stop controversial signings after Folau move

Super League votes for'authority to stop controversial signings after Folau move By Ben Spratt 5 February 2020 11

Their earlier decision provoked a furious backlash, with rival teams threatening legal action if the move saw them suffer a financial loss as a result.

Beaten at home in their Super League season opener by Huddersfield (32-12), the Dragons play Wakefield Trinity away on Sunday before hosting Castleford on February 15.

Israel Folua could be at the centre of more legal wrangling upon his return to rugby league.

Instead, according to ITV's Steve Scott, the Super League club will film the unveiling in-house and distribute vision to the media.

Rugby's Super League has said it accepts that Australian Israel Folau has been legally registered as Catalan Dragons player but says it has taken steps to be able to intervene in controversial signings.

With the row ongoing, Dragons cancelled a planned media appearance by Folau.

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How did we get here?

KR chairman Neil Hudgell, who copied in the rest of rugby league's top-flight clubs, warned he would reserve his position to take proceedings if sponsors withdrew, external investment was not secured or reputational damage was caused to Super League and its members.

The former Wallabies fullback, a fundamentalist Christian, appealed against the firing and reached a confidential settlement with RA in December.

Both the RFL, the English game's governing body, and Super League said they "deplored" Folau's previous comments and the RFL said it was "a hard decision" to allow him into the competition.

His signing sparked widespread outrage among stakeholders but both the The Rugby Football League (RFL) and Super League claimed they were powerless to stop Folau's arrival at the time.

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"It's been 10 years ... and I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing alongside the boys".

The RFL said: "We don't believe that, under our current regulatory framework, [Folau's comments] can prevent his participation in the sport".

Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch has said they wanted to give Folau a "new opportunity" but the club did not share the player's religious beliefs.

"In terms of his (Folau's) own contract, provided it was properly formed, he may have some avenue if it ends up being terminated on invalid grounds", he said.

Halifax prop Keegan Hirst, Britain's first openly gay rugby league player, said the decision is "disappointing and frustrating".

Immediately after Folau's signing, Wigan Warriors announced their March home game against Catalans would be "Pride Day" with LGBTQ+ groups invited to help promote equality in the game.

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