Israel Folau’s controversial comeback gets a reality check

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Israel Folau’s controversial comeback is getting a harsh reality check by organizers who say he will have to agree to a strict list of terms if he ever hopes to take the field.

  • Queensland Rugby League will not continue to register Israel Folau
  • He is still legally under a playing contract with the Catalans in France
  • Until he is released, he will not be able to play for Southport in Australia
  • The league also said they disagreed with his controversial social media posts

Israel Folau’s controversial bid for a return to rugby league has received a reality check from Queensland Rugby League.

In a statement on Wednesday, the QRL hit back on threats of legal action by Folau’s backer Clive Palmer and revealed that it had not yet been confirmed that the double international had been released from his playing contract with Catalans in France.

The QRL can only proceed with approval of the registration if that permission has been received.

Israel Folau’s controversial bid for a return to rugby league has received a reality check from Queensland Rugby League

Folau, seeking approval to play with Southport in Gold Coast park football, got his Rugby Australia contract torn in 2019 over homophobic social media posts.

He then joined the Dragons on a deal that will remain in effect until the end of this year, returning to Australia only on compassionate grounds.

The QRL made it clear that Folau’s controversial social media posts are inconsistent with their beliefs and that, if signed off, any breach of the code of conduct could result in suspension or cancellation of his registration.

Folau, seeking approval to play with Southport in Gold Coast Park Football, got his Rugby Australia contract torn in 2019 over homophobic social media posts.

Folau, seeking approval to play with Southport in Gold Coast Park Football, got his Rugby Australia contract torn in 2019 over homophobic social media posts.

Palmer had sensationally given the QRL until Wednesday to release the 32-year-old’s return, claiming that if he doesn’t, he will issue a federal injunction against the governing body on the grounds of religious discrimination.

“While the QRL acknowledges the differing views on this filing, the competition is amazed that there has been public comment about threats of lengthy legal action if the registration were not granted,” read a statement from the QRL.

“As a non-profit organization, the QRL aims to promote and develop the game in Queensland, and generally take action that is considered in the best interest of the Queensland rugby league.”

Israel Folau (pictured left) returns to rugby league with the support of billionaire Clive Palmer

Israel Folau (pictured left) returns to rugby league with the support of billionaire Clive Palmer

Catalans have so far refused to release Folau, stating that he will remain under contract this season and have been surprised by his performance alongside Palmer last week.

The QRL board said, after receiving international approval, Folau will be “allowed to register for the Southport Tigers at a community rugby league level and no higher.”

Another requirement for registration was confirmation that Folau had read and understood its obligations as a player under the QRL rules and the community code of conduct.

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