Super League acts to prevent Folau repeat

Super League's board has voted for powers to prevent further controversial signings to the competition following Israel Folau's deal with Catalans.

ISRAEL FOLAU
ISRAEL FOLAU Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

The English Super League has voted for steps allowing it to prevent future "controversial signings", but accepts it can't stop Israel Folau playing for Catalans.

The Folau issue dominated Wednesday's meeting attended by 11 of the 12 Super League club chiefs - only Catalans chairman Bernard Guasch was absent, despite being requested to appear.

Guasch has been under fire following the signing of ex-Wallabies star Folau, which went against the wishes of Super League and the Rugby Football League (RFL).

The RFL was mindful of legal ramifications when it accepted the registration of Folau, who settled out of court with Rugby Australia in December after being sacked over religiously-motivated homophobic social media posts.

"Super League has clearly and consistently outlined its position on Israel Folau," Super League CEO Robert Elstone said in a statement after Wednesday's meeting.

"With the season underway, we now feel it is important for Super League to separate what is an off-field matter from what is happening on the field.

"The Super League Board accepts the legalities around the RFL's decision to register Israel Folau, and the board has voted unanimously to put in place measures that ensure the Super League has greater authority to stop controversial signings such as this in the future.

"As a sport we have an impressive and enviable track record when it comes to equality, diversity and inclusion and we will continue our great work in those areas."

Guasch continued to defend his club's decision to sign Folau.

"After numerous discussions with the coach and the manager, and with my board of directors, we took the decision to give a second chance to this great player, because he and his agent gave us guarantees about what happened," Guasch said.

"He didn't want to go back to what had happened, and he wanted, above all, to look to the future and rebuild his image, rebuild his character."

Folau arrived in Perpignan from Australia last weekend to begin training with his new teammates before Sunday's round-two fixture at Wakefield.

The former NSW Waratahs fullback has not played any football since last April and it is 10 years since his last rugby league match for Brisbane in the NRL.

However, the Dragons are short of outside backs due to injuries and coach Steve McNamara may name him in his 21-man squad on Friday.


AAP