Israel Folau has been warned about his future conduct by the Rugby Football League as he joins the Catalans in Super League.
The Rugby League governing body says nothing in their regulations can stop Catalans signing Israel Folau "however distasteful his previous comments".
— Dragons Catalans (@DragonsOfficiel) January 28, 2020
The controversial Australian rugby player has signed a 1-year deal with the Super League side. Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia for homophobic comments he made on social media.
The RFL confirmed that the registration of Israel Folau with the Catalans Dragons will not be prevented in a statement.
"This is a difficult decision, as the RFL places a high value on the sport’s reputation in prioritising Inclusion and Diversity – and deplores the player’s previous comments.
"However the moral responsibility for deciding whether to sign a player sits with individual clubs.
"The player has not been charged or found guilty of any criminal offence.
"However distasteful his previous comments, we don’t believe that, under our current regulatory framework, these can prevent his participation in the sport.
"We have sought and received reassurances from both the player and the club regarding future behaviour.
"The RFL has taken and will continue to take action where any player breaches expected standards of behaviour while registered with a club.
"Comments that conflict with our commitment to Inclusion and Diversity across the game will not be tolerated."
Executive Chairman of Super League Robert Elstone says the league have been given assurances about the future conduct of Folau.
"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," said Elstone.
"However, Super League does not have the authority to veto the registration of players and is satisfied by the due diligence carried out by The Rugby Football League.
"Israel Folau is a free agent, who has the right to work, and he has not been charged or found guilty of any criminal offence.
"Catalans Dragons has assured Super League that strict guidelines are in place to prevent the player from repeating his comments.
"They have also assured us that his contract will be terminated immediately should he do so."
Wigan Warriors today announced that they were theming their match against Catalans on March 22nd as Pride Day in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
🏳️🌈 @WiganWarriorsRL can confirm that their round six game against @DragonsOfficiel on Sunday 22nd March will now be Pride Day, as the Warriors look support the LGBTQ+ community.
Learn more 👇https://t.co/nvxK1VHHq1
— Wigan Warriors 🍒⚪️ (@WiganWarriorsRL) January 28, 2020
The game against the Dragons will see the Club’s players wear Rainbow socks, provided by kit suppliers hummel, and the players will wear Rainbow Laces for the game. The club is inviting LGBTQ+ groups, both locally and nationally, to be part of the day.
Wigan Warriors executive director, Kris Radlinski said: “Here at Wigan Warriors we are committed to the core values of Inclusion and Respect."
Everyone’s in the Team Of Us.
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