joined 19 Jun 11
Posted - 29 Jan 2020 : 15:05:18
| There were rumours that Israel was going to America.
The good news is that he has signed with a French team and France is further away than USA.
Wigan Warriors announce Pride Day minutes after Catalans Dragons unveil Israel Folau.
One of Catalans Dragons’ Super League rivals took just 19 minutes to send a not-so-subtle message after the French club announced the signing of Israel Folau.
Folau’s playing future was confirmed on Tuesday night (AEDT) with the cross-code star inking a one-year contract with the 2018 Challenge Cup winners, his first deal after a protracted exit from Australian rugby.
The club tweeted the announcement at 11.30pm AEDT, and the Wigan Warriors were swift to respond at 11.49pm AEDT by declaring they will host Pride Day when Folau and his Dragons teammates travel to the DW Stadium in round eight.
Wigan players including marquee recruit George Burgess will wear rainbow socks, laces and LGBTQ+ groups will be invited to be part of the day.
“Here at Wigan Warriors we are committed to the core values of inclusion and respect,” executive director Kris Radlinski said.
“Rugby league has a strong history of inclusion, of breaking down barriers and of being an forward-thinking sport. I think that today more than any day that it is vitally important we reiterate that message.”
The move by Wigan comes as the Super League’s first openly gay player slammed the decision of the Rugby Football League to allow the Dragons to sign Folau.
Wakefield Trinity prop Keegan Hirst said he was shocked and disappointed at news of Folau’s signing following his sacking by Rugby Australia last year for homophobic comments he made on Instagram.
“Our great game is tasked with fighting against homophobia and standing up for the values it puts such high stock in,” Hirst tweeted.
“It shows none of the bravery, camaraderie or integrity RFL expects from its players, staff and fans.”
Hirst added “this has nothing to do with beliefs. It has everything to do with homophobia”.
“There are millions of people practising their religion who are not homophobic. Prejudice is prejudice and using religion, political beliefs or anything else to justify it is not OK.”
The 30-year-old’s signing was largely greeted with outrage by the British rugby league community with Super League CEO Robert Elstone admitting he was disappointed at the signing but conceded there was little he could do to prevent it.
“Super League deplores the homophobic comments Israel Folau has made in the past, which squarely contradict our sport’s core values,” Elstone said.
“I have sought the opinion of informed voices connected to our game, and the majority share my disappointment that one of our clubs has chosen to sign him.
“There is a strong feeling that the decision to sign him lets down many people connected to our sport.
“I made Catalans Dragons aware of those views.
“However, Super League does not have the authority to veto the registration of players and is satisfied by the due diligence carried out by The Rugby Football League.
“Israel Folau is a free agent, who has the right to work, and he has not been charged or found guilty of any criminal offence.
“Catalans Dragons has assured Super League that strict guidelines are in place to prevent the player from repeating his comments.
“They have also assured us that his contract will be terminated immediately should he do so.”