Super League wrong to sanction Folau signing: chief executive

by Reuters
Friday, 7 February 2020 05:35 GMT

Rugby Union - Australia Captain's Run - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - November 23, 2018 Australia's Israel Folau during the captain's run Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

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Former rugby union player Israel Folau had his contract with Rugby Australia torn up for posting on social media that hell awaits gay people

Feb 7 (Reuters) - Robert Elstone, the chief executive of rugby’s Super League, has said they arrived at the “wrong conclusion” in sanctioning the signing of Australian Israel Folau by Catalans Dragons.

The Super League on Wednesday accepted that Folau had been legally registered after he signed for the French side last month, but took steps to ensure they can intervene in controversial signings in the future.

Former rugby union player Folau had his contract with Rugby Australia torn up in May for posting on social media that hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers” and other groups, angering the LGBT+ community.

“I think it was a sad day for Super League,” Elstone said on the ‘Inside Super League’ show.

“It was a difficult week for Super League, and a difficult week for me personally — I had a few sleepless nights on it. I think we came to the wrong conclusion.”

Folau, who had stints with Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos in the National Rugby League before switching codes, was told he would not be allowed a return to the NRL.

But the Rugby Football League allowed the player’s registration with Catalans.

Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch said that they wanted to give Folau a “new opportunity” but the club did not share the player’s religious beliefs.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford )

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