Maligned businessman Clive Palmer has threatened the Queensland Rugby League that he will take legal action against the governing body if it doesn’t approve by Wednesday Israel Folau’s application to join the Southport Tigers.
Palmer and Folau combined for an unlikely partnership when they announced at a press conference last Friday that they were pushing for the controversial code-hopper to return to Australian rugby league via the QRL’s A-grade Gold Coast competition, their first step in pursuing an NRL comeback.
Folau’s Rugby Australia contract with the Wallabies and Waratahs was ripped up when he posted a homophobic comment on social media in May 2019. The former Storm and Broncos centre then inked a deal with Super League club Catalans Dragons in January 2020.
Palmer is insistent that Folau plays the Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park on Saturday afternoon.
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“This latest threat came via a statement issued by Clive Palmer last night,” said Nine News reporter Aislin Kriukelis.
“The businessman said that he believes Israel Folau will issue an injunction on religious-discrimination grounds if he isn’t registered to play this Wednesday.
“This seems to be in response to reports that the QRL wants written assurance that Folau won’t continue to express the divisive religious beliefs that saw him sacked back in 2019.”
But as Palmer and Folau eye legal action against the QRL, Catalans are weighing up taking Folau to court over his push to break out of his Dragons contract.
Folau re-signed with Catalans in July last year, tying himself to the French club until the end of this year.
The Dragons then granted the former GWS Giants experiment compassionate leave early this year to return home to Australia amid a family member’s battle with ill health.
And the club was shocked to hear that Folau was pushing to remain in Australia and play in the QRL.
“The UK Super League side was apparently blindsided by last week’s announcement,” Kriukelis said.
Catalans football manager Alex Chan was blunt in a statement released by the club.
“We still hold his contract, he’s still a registered player with Catalans Dragons. It was a big shock to see what was put out there,” Chan said.
“We can’t just let things happen like this.
“I’ve got to meet with the club president and our directors but I’ve already made our legal team aware of the situation that is starting to unfold.
“We need to start being pro-active from our end in case things start to escalate and go nasty.”
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