Controversial dual international Israel Folau has instructed lawyers to take action against the Queensland Rugby League, claiming he’s being discriminated against.
The former Wallabies representative is hoping to play for Gold Coast third-tier club Southport Tigers, in a bid backed by the financial muscle of outspoken businessman Clive Palmer.
The QRL said on Wednesday it could not proceed with Folau’s registration until they received a clearance from Catalans, the French-based Super League club the 32-year-old signed for after receiving a settlement from Rugby Australia.
Folau had his contract with RA torn up in 2019 after a series of homophobic social media posts.
He joined Catalans in January last year and extended his deal until the end of the 2021 campaign last July.
While the QRL said Folau’s controversial social media posts do not align with their beliefs, they were willing to grant Folau permission to play with the Tigers “at a community rugby league level and no higher” should Catalans provide a clearance.
The French club insists Folau remains contracted to them and they had left the door open to his return having let him travel to Australia on compassionate grounds.
In a statement, Sam Iskander from Alexander Law said the QRL’s conditions for approving Folau’s registration were different to any of his potential teammates at the Tigers.
“We do not understand why Israel is being treated differently to any other player seeking registration in the QRL by placing conditions on him which have not been placed on any other player seeking registration from the Southport Tigers,” Iskander said.
“We can only conclude it is because of his religious beliefs.
“Israel is seeking the right to claim damages from the QRL, its board members and any other person who has discriminated against him by denying him lawful rights.”