Israel Folau released by Catalan Dragons
Controversial cross-code star Israel Folau has been officially released by the Catalan Dragons, the rugby league club have confirmed.
Folau is bidding to play league in Australia and cited a ‘personal family situation’ as behind his decision to leave France. It is understood that Folau wants to play alongside his brothers before he retires from professional sport.
“Catalans Dragons can confirm Israel Folau will be released from the remainder of his contract with immediate effect,” a statement on the Dragons’ website reads.
“[Folau] Arrived at the club in 2020, he signed a 1-year contract extension for 2021 but announced to the club early this year his decision to stay in Australia for a personal family situation.
Bernard Guasch, Catalans Dragons chairman: “Israel has been great with us in 2020 both on and off the field and we wanted to facilitate the negotiations to reach an agreement. He told us his desire to play alongside his two brothers and we didn’t want to prevent him. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career.”
Folau left rugby union after a row with Rugby Australia that made global sports headlines and which saw the parties embroiled in a legal battle over his contract termination. Rugby Australia felt that his views on homosexuality, which he made known on social media, did not conform with their values, resulting in his suspension.
Ultimately the union were forced to settle the case and a substantial payout was made to the former Waratahs fullback.
Now 32, Folau has been endeavouring to reignite his NRL career but has been met with some opposition. He had been linked to a return to rugby union in France, with a number of clubs said to have been interested in signing the star despite the off-field baggage he brings to the table. Any such return to the fifteen-man code looks increasingly unlikely.
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