SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Rugby League club slammed for signing controversial star Israel Folau

Israel Folau has signed a one-year contract with Super League side Catalans Dragons despite being disgraced for an anti-gay post on social media.

Posted: Jan 28, 2020 10:10 AM
Updated: Jan 28, 2020 10:10 AM

Israel Folau, who was embroiled in a lengthy dispute with Rugby Australia over an anti-gay post on social media, has signed a one-year contract with Super League side Catalans Dragons.

A devout Christian, Folau reached a settlement with Rugby Australia last year after being sacked for an Instagram post in which he said "hell awaits" gay people.

The 30-year-old also suggested that the recent Australia's bushfires and droughts are punishments from God for the country's same-sex and abortion laws.

Folau made 73 appearances for Australia's rugby union side but has now switched back to Rugby League, the code which kickstarted his professional career.

"I acknowledge the views expressed by Super League and the Rugby Football League," Folau said as his new club announced his signing.

"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."

READ: New Zealand's Crusaders change logo after Christchurch attack

'Difficult decision'

The Rugby Football League -- the sport's governing body -- said allowing the signing had been a "difficult decision" and deplored the player's previous comments.

"However the moral responsibility for deciding whether to sign a player sits with individual clubs," a league statement read.

"The player has not been charged or found guilty of any criminal offense.

"However distasteful his previous comments, we don't believe that, under our current regulatory framework, these can prevent his participation in the sport."

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos

Catalans Dragons Chairman Bernard Guasch said he wanted to give Folau a new opportunity and that the club, which is based in the French city of Perpignan, does not share or condone his expressed beliefs.

Super League Executive Chairman Robert Elstone also expressed his concern over the signing.

"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," he said.

"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."

Pride day

Following news of Folau's signing, fellow Super League club Wigan Warriors announced its next match against the Catalans Dragons on March 22 will now be Pride Day, with players wearing Rainbow socks and laces.

"Here at Wigan Warriors we are committed to the core values of Inclusion and Respect," said Wigan Warriors executive director, Kris Radlinski.

"Our community foundation have a long history of supporting local LGBTQ+ groups and initiatives, and we want everyone who engages with our game to feel welcome, valued and most of all, respected."

Keegan Hirst, who plays for Rugby League side Wakefield Trinity, said he was "shocked and disappointed" about the decision in a tweet about Folau.

"Our great game is tasked with fighting against homophobia and standing up for the values it puts such high stock in," he wrote.

"It shows none of the bravery, camaraderie or integrity @rfl [the league] expects from its players, staff and fans."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 302484

Reported Deaths: 6859
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1249923690
Riverside23334533
Orange21517402
San Diego18402415
San Bernardino17414304
Imperial7654127
Fresno762787
Alameda7407146
San Joaquin606567
Kern597989
Santa Clara5678166
Tulare5509148
Sacramento493278
Stanislaus436450
Contra Costa435788
San Francisco414550
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3787111
Marin322730
Kings285539
Monterey234317
Solano198527
Merced179312
Sonoma151914
Placer99311
San Luis Obispo8774
Madera8578
Yolo80228
Santa Cruz5063
Napa4664
Sutter3374
Butte3194
San Benito3112
El Dorado2920
Lassen2690
Shasta1766
Yuba1633
Humboldt1614
Glenn1590
Nevada1591
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Lake1011
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Tuolumne600
Del Norte580
Mono491
Amador360
Inyo341
Siskiyou330
Mariposa311
Plumas150
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 101° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 86°
Oroville
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 103° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 86°
Paradise
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 86°
Chester
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 69°
Red Bluff
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 103° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 86°
Willows
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 105° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 86°
A hot week will transform into an even hotter weekend over northern California as high pressure stays in control of our weather. No rain is in the forecast, but it will cool a bit by late next week.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events