News People Palmer threatens court action over Folau’s Qld rugby league bid

Palmer threatens court action over Folau’s Qld rugby league bid

israel folau rugby league
Israel Folau's return to sport in Australia is being bankrolled by mining magnate Clive Palmer. Photo: AAP
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Mining magnate Clive Palmer says Israel Folau will take the Queensland Rugby League to the Federal Court unless it approves the controversial code-hopper’s registration this week.

Palmer’s Mineralogy company is bankrolling Folau’s proposed bid to play rugby league for the Southport Tigers in Gold Coast’s A-Grade competition this year.

The 32-year-old dual international, who had his contract terminated by Rugby Australia in 2019 after saying “hell awaits” gay people in a social media post, is hoping to play for the Tigers alongside brothers John and Eni in the third-tier competition.

Mr Palmer has indicated he wants Folau to be on the field for Southport’s clash against Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park this Saturday.

The QRL has previously indicated it will consider Folau’s application to be registered “in line with its rules and processes” but Mr Palmer said he would take legal action if the decision wasn’t made by Wednesday.

“Israel doesn’t drink, smoke or take drugs. He has never been charged with a criminal offence” Mr Palmer said in a statement late on Sunday.

“He loves his wife and his son. He has a rugby playing record second to none.

“If he is not registered by Wednesday, I believe he will issue an injunction in the Federal Court of Australia against the QRL for their discrimination against him on religious grounds.”

Folau last played rugby league in Australia in 2010 before pursuing a short-lived AFL career with expansion club GWS and then a rugby union career that included 73 Test appearances for Australia.

Folau trains with French club Catalans early in 2020.

He returned to professional rugby league after reaching a legal settlement with RA following his sacking, joining Super League club Catalans in January 2020.

The French club has indicated it is considering legal action of its own in the wake of Folau’s Southport announcement.

Catalans’ football manager Alex Chan said the club expected Folau to return at some stage during the year, having granted him compassionate leave to deal with family matters in Australia.

Mr Palmer has previously dismissed any suggestion Catalans have a case for compensation.

AAP has sought comment from the QRL.