In a new contract signed with Catalans Dragons on Tuesday, Australian footballer Israel Folau agreed not to make further comments of the type he previously defended so strenuously. Folau signed a 12 month contract with the French team, 10 years after last playing rugby.
Folau later released a statement acknowledging the implications of his new contract.
“I acknowledge the views expressed by Super League and the Rugby Football League.
“I’m a proud Christian, my beliefs are personal, my intention is not to hurt anyone and I will not be making further public comment about them.
“I look forward to my return to the great game of rugby league with the Catalans Dragons.”
The chairman of the Catalans Dragons, Bernard Guasch, said the club wanted to give Folau a new opportunity. However, they do not share his religious beliefs.
“We do not believe that those views should be publicly expressed, especially by a high-profile sports person.
“We have a signed agreement with the RFL.
“Any transgression will trigger an immediate termination of Israel’s contract and a substantial fine for the club.”
Outrage in British Rugby
The British rugby establishment mainly expressed outrage at the signing.
Robert Elstone, Super League CEO, said the signing came as a disappointment.
“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.
“There is a strong feeling that the decision to sign him lets down many people connected to our sport.
“I made Catalans Dragons aware of those views.”
After news spread of Folau’s signing, The Wigan Warriors who will play Catalans Dragons on 22 March on Wigan’s home ground, released a statement.
They announced that match would be Pride Day to support the local LGBTIQ community.
Learn more 👇https://t.co/nvxK1VHHq1
— Wigan Warriors 🍒⚪️ (@WiganWarriorsRL) January 28, 2020
Just two months ago, Rugby Australia reached a confidential agreement with Folau over his sacking for previous comments demonising LGBTIQ people. Since his sacking, Folau regularly preached at his father’s Truth of Jesus Christ church in Sydney.
In his sermons, he regularly defended the original statements condemning LGBTIQ and others to hell that led to his sacking.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.