Israel Folau could return to playing NRL this year after the St George Illawarra Dragons in NSW confirmed they hope to sign him up this year.
The Dragons have formally approached the NRL hoping to sign him to play on a multi-year deal.
Folau had his multi-million dollar footy contracts ripped up over his homophobic commentary on social media in 2019.
Now the Dragons’ chief executive Ryan Webb told the Sydney Morning Herald the club are “definitely interested” in signing Folau this year.
“We’re always on the lookout for great players,” he said.
“We have enquired with the NRL about Israel. We’ll work with them to hopefully see him join us in 2021.
“We understand there will be a range of opinions in regards to this decision. But we believe he would be a good addition to our club.”
Rugby Australia found Folau committed a “high-level breach” of the professional players’ code of conduct in May.
The devout Christian sued the code for religious discrimination over his sacking. He reached a confidential settlement with Rugby Australia in December 2019.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the registration process of every player or official involved “a number of due diligence” matters.
“Any decision that you make, you need to think about the fans. You need to think about your investors and sponsors. All of that will be taken into account,” he said.
“You always have to have an open mind. You have to follow due process and you have to be fair. We’ll follow that process.”
NRL bosses previously slam Israel Folau’s views on homosexuality
In 2019, Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V’landys described Israel Folau’s comments as out of line with the sport.
“The game is inclusive. Israel’s comments are not inclusive,” he said.
“When I was a kid and kids used to get bashed up because they were different, I used to go and defend them.
“And a lot of them, it’s because their role models or their peers made them that way.
“With due respect to Israel, what he says, young kids listen to. He is a role model. They act on it.
“And when you’re a kid at school and you get bashed up because you’re different, I don’t think that’s a good thing.”
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