Rugby League boss responds to Australian Christian Lobby’s Israel Folau campaign

israel folau St George Illawarra Dragons nrl club
Photo: YouTube

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys has said the Australian Christian Lobby are “wasting their money” with a campaign for an Israel Folau comeback.

This week, the ACL launched a campaign to support of Folau’s return to the NRL, with a petition, full-page Daily Telegraph ads and hashtag #lethimplay.

The group also wants supporters to go to NRL games holding banners and signs.

However asked for his thoughts, Peter V’landys said no NRL club had given them an application for them to consider.

“This Christian Lobby with their full-page ads basically are wasting their resources and money because there is no application,” V’landys told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“There are a lot more things in life that they could be lobbying for, like [ending] poverty and inequality and all those sort of things, rather than this.”

V’landys said while campaign supporters were free to protest at games, they were “wasting their breath”.

“I’m the first to promote freedom of speech. They can absolutely express their wishes, but at the moment there is no club who has made an application for Israel Folau,” V’landys said.

“Israel Folau, like every other player, has to follow a process.

“The process is he has to have a contract with a club and then he has to apply for registration. Neither of those things has been done.”

Australian Christian Lobby says clubs and players want Israel Folau

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Martyn Iles said the campaign was launched without Folau’s knowledge.

“We’re just hoping the NRL will allow one of the clubs to give Israel a contract,” he told the Herald.

“There are clubs that want him. That’s the reality. There are players, there are coaches that want him.”

Israel Folau was sacked over his homophobic commentary on social media in 2019. He later sued for religious discrimination and reached a confidential settlement.

Last year, Folau returned to Australia to care for a sick family member.

In February, New South Wales club St George Illawarra Dragons said they wanted to sign up Folau but “ceased” talks days later after backlash.

Folau is still under contract with French rugby league club Catalans Dragons until the end of this year.

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1 Comment

  1. Peter Turner
    22 May 2021

    No-one is denying Folau’s right to free speech or his entitlement to his religious beliefs. The fact is he used his position as a rugby league player to “preach” and to denigrate the queer community. This was a clear breach of his contract. To now claim he supports diversity is a joke.

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