Israel Folau signs one-year contract with French rugby club

Former Wallaby Israel Folau is making a return to the game of rugby after signing a new contract overseas.

Folau was notably sacked by Rugby Australia last year, after a controversial social media post condemning homosexuals, adulterers and others to hell.

Folau responded to the sacking with legal action against Rugby Aus, seeking $14million in compensation, finally leading to a settlement with Australia’s peak body for the sport.

Folau will join the Super League as a member of the Catalan Dragons, a team based in the south of France, after signing a one year deal.

Catalan Dragons’ chairman Bernard Guasch said the team wants to “give Israel a new opportunity to shine on the pitch.”

Super League Executive Chairman Robert Elstone and the Rugby Football League (RFL) have named the signing as a “difficult decision.”

“The player has not been charged or found guilty of any criminal offence,” the statement reads.

Elstone adds that the Super League “deplores the homophobic comments Israel Folau has made in the past, which squarely contradict our sport’s core values.”

“I have sought the opinion of informed voices connected to our game, and the majority share my disappointment that one of our clubs has chosen to sign him.”

Keegan Hirst, a gay rugby player from the UK’s Halifax RLC, said he is shocked a disappointed by the decision to allow Folau to return to the game.

“Our great game is tasked with fighting against homophobia and standing up for the values it puts such high stock in,” Hirst said.

“It shows none of the bravery, camaraderie or integrity Rugby Football League expects from its players, staff and fans.”

OIP Staff