QRL’s savage ‘no’ to Folau comeback attempt

The QRL has emphatically rejected Israel Folau’s attempt to return to rugby league, refusing to register the contract submitted by the Southport Tigers.

In a strongly worded statement released this morning, Queensland’s governing body revealed it was “astounded” by the legal threats made by Clive Palmer in a forceful attempt to have the controversial figure’s registration approved.

“While the QRL acknowledges the differing views in relation to this application, the league is astounded that public commentary has included threats of protracted legal action should registration not be granted,” the statement said.

The statement added that Folau’s registration could not be granted until he was released from his contract with UK Super League outfit Catalans.

The French club last week made a legal threat of its own against Folau if he attempted to play for another club after he returned to Australia while still contracted to the club on compassionate leave.

“The QRL have not received confirmation that Folau is released from his existing playing contract, nor has he received a clearance from his last known registered overseas club,” the statement said.

“The QRL cannot proceed with any registration approval until such time as the clearance is received – this is in accordance with current national policy regarding international clearances playing at any level of the game.”

The statement added that Folau’s registration with Southport would be granted if Catalans signed a clearance. However, in an important caveat, it said that Folau would not be allowed to climb the ranks “any higher” than community rugby league level, even if the clearance is forthcoming.

The QRL’s final condition for granting Folau’s registration with Southport was that he “read and understood his obligations as a player under the QRL rules, the QRL code of conduct and the community rugby league terms and conditions NRL registration”.

That note in the statement was followed by a clarification warning Folau that the social media posts that led to his multi-million-dollar contract being terminated by Rugby Australia in 2019 would have similar consequences if he repeated them as a QRL registered player.

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“Should the registration proceed in compliance with these conditions, any breach of the code of conduct could lead to suspension, or the cancellation of the player’s registration, as it would for any other player,” the statement said.

“The QRL acknowledge that previous social media comments made by Folau, whilst not a registered participant in rugby league at the time, do not align to the beliefs of the game, or the QRL.

“The QRL is an inclusive organisation with a proud diversity and inclusion framework.”

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