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MAJOR obstacle could provoke all-out war for Folau

The Queensland Rugby League will register Israel Folau’s bid to return to grassroots rugby league for the Southport Tigers, but only if he is granted a release from his Catalans Dragons contract.

Folau’s backer, Tigers Tigers patron and billionaire businessman Clive Palmer, threatened to bankroll a Federal Court injunction on religious discrimination grounds if the cross-code star wasn’t registered today.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the QRL revealed they are considering Folau’s and the Southport Tigers’ request for the 31-year-old to play in the competition.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, the QRL’s objectives are to foster and develop the game in Queensland, and to generally take action that is considered to be in the best interests of rugby league in Queensland,” the statement reads.

“With this in mind, the QRL Board has carefully considered all aspects of the registration request, in line with its current rules and processes.

“In doing so, the QRL can today share the following:

  • 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 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
  • On receipt of international clearance, Folau will be granted permission to register for the Southport Tigers at a community rugby league level and no higher, as per the registration request that has been made

“Any registration is subject to Folau confirming he has 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.

“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 conditions Folau must agree to will be in relation to his social media use.

He was sacked by Rugby Australia two years ago for posting dangerous homophobic beliefs on his personal, yet public, social media accounts.

“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 organisation said.

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