Israel Folau has stood by his controversial religious views ahead of his return to rugby league in Australia.
Former dual code international Folau last played in Australia in 2019, before his contracts with Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs were terminated following social media posts that were deemed to be homophobic.
Folau is now set to return to his home country by playing for the Southport Tigers, who play in the Gold Coast Premiership, subject to approval from the Queensland Rugby League administration.
Two of Australia’s most polarising figures are teaming up on the #GoldCoast.
— 9News Gold Coast (@9NewsGoldCoast) May 21, 2021
“I tell you what I do stand for. As a Christian, I stand by the Bible and what the Bible says, every written word that’s written in that book, I stand by that and that’s all I’ll say about that,” Folau said at a Southport Tigers press conference.
“I’m just happy to get back on the field and play. At the moment I’m just excited about joining Southport and playing alongside my brothers, that’s something I’ve never done in my career.”
‘I would pledge every dollar to make sure he takes to the field again.’
The move is being backed by Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, who is confident that Folau will be registered before Southport’s game against the Burleigh Bears on the 29th of May.
“I’ll be very surprised if he’s not registered, and I certainly would support him 100 per cent with all the funds, all the resources, all the skill that I possess to ensure that he’s treated fairly, like all Australians,” Palmer commented.
“Make no mistake about that. My commitment to Israel Folau to ensure that he can play football again is rock solid.”
“I would pledge every cent, every dollar, and every waking moment of my time to ensure that he takes the field again.”
Palmer kicks in for Israel Folau’s return to rugby league
Clive Palmer announced today that his mining company Mineralogy would sponsor Israel Folau’s return to rugby league, playing for Gold Coast team the Southport Tigers.
— Clive Palmer (@CliveFPalmer) May 21, 2021
Two of Folau’s brothers already play for the Tigers, which is believes to have influenced his move back to Queensland.
Folau last played rugby league in Australia for the Brisbane Broncos in 2010, but did play professionally for French club the Catalan Dragons in the Super League last year.