Israel Folau has been spotted training with his Gold Coast club for the first time, despite remaining unregistered to return to rugby league.
The Queensland Rugby League is yet to register Folau’s contract with Gold Coast A-Grade side the Southport Tigers after his UK Super League club Catalans revealed he was still under contract with the club.
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However, the QRL recently clarified it would register the contract if he had been given clearance from Catalans. The Dragons remain adamant Folau is expected to return to play with the club this year.
Israel Folau was early for training and seemed to integrate into the team. Photo credit: A Carlile / MEGA.Source:Mega
The drama has taken another series of turns this week with Folau’s legal team reportedly arguing the code-hopper should be cleared by the QRL for his return after claims Catalans had breached its contractual obligations by failing to pay him.
The saga twisted again this week with images showing Folau training with the Tigers, despite remaining in limbo about his rugby league future as a result of his legal dispute.
Photos provided by The Mega Agency show Folau arrived early for training and appeared to be involved with teammates during the session.
According to reports, Folau’s injunction application against the QRL was heard in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday and will return for a full day hearing on July 12.
It was just like riding a bike for Israel Folau. Photo credit: A Carlile / TheMegaAgency.com.Source:Mega
Folau’s presence at the training session comes after weeks of him sitting on the sidelines, unable to play as a result of the QRL’s refusal to register the contract. He was forced to watch on two weeks ago as his team was humiliated 88-0.
Clive Palmer, a patron with the Southport club, is backing Folau’s return, but the deal, reported to be worth $250,000, is still yet to be rubber stamped.
Last week, the mining magnate threatened to issue a Federal Court injunction against the governing body for religious discrimination if it didn’t rubber stamp Folau’s contract.
The Sydney Morning Heraldreported that it had obtained Folau’s application to the Supreme Court with the issue boiling down to a clause in the QRL playing rules.
The clause states: “Any player who played in an overseas competition which is not controlled by the ARLC in the preceding Football Year shall not be registered without first obtaining a written clearance through the ARLC.”
Folau’s team is arguing that the rule “is void as being an unreasonable restraint of trade”.
Israel Folau wants back in rugby league.Source:News Corp Australia
Folau’s contract with Rugby Australia was torn up in 2019 for homophobic posts made on social media, and it was earlier reported the QRL wants a written guarantee from the 32-year-old he will not publicly express his views on homosexuality — which include the belief gay people will go to hell unless they repent for their sins.
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