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Rugby league-Folau goes to Supreme Court in bid to play for amateur club

REUTERS: Israel Folau has lodged a Supreme Court injunction against the Queensland Rugby League (QRL) after the sport's governing body refused his registration to play for an amateur club, Australian media reported on Thursday.

Dual code international Folau, who was sacked by Rugby Australia in 2019 for a social media post deemed discriminatory by the rugby union federation, had hoped to join his two brothers playing at Gold Coast club Southport.

The QRL said last month it could not register Folau because he had not provided confirmation of his contractual release from his previous team, the Catalan Dragons.

Folau played a season for the French Super League club before quitting last year and returning to Australia.

Folau's legal team say the QRL's refusal amounts to an "unreasonable restraint of trade".

"Israel Folau is a perfect role model for the game and the QRL needs to recognise that," Folau's lawyer Sam Iskander said in a statement.

"Israel doesn't drink, smoke or take drugs. He has never been charged with any criminal offence. He loves his wife and his son. He has a rugby playing record second to none.

"Israel, like any other Australian, has the right to support his family. All Israel wants is the opportunity to return to the game he loves, to play alongside his brothers and to do the best he can for his wife and family."

If Folau is cleared to play, he would only be registered to play at "community level and no higher".

Folau is also being backed by Southport team patron and mining billionaire Clive Palmer.

A Fundamentalist Christian, Folau had his Wallabies and Super Rugby deals terminated in 2019 after posting a meme that said hell awaited "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers" and others.

The QRL has also said his previous social media comments "do not align to the beliefs of the game, or the QRL".

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: Reuters


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