Israel Folau is looking to resurrect his sporting career with a potential return to rugby league and at least one NRL club is weighing up a potential move, according to media reports.
The former Wallabies winger reached an out-of-court settlement with Rugby Australia this week after lodging a $14 million compensation claim for wrongful termination following his infamous homophobic post on social media.
The Sunday Telegraph reports the 30-year-old has meanwhile been training hard to get himself fit for a preferred return to rugby league.
Any cross-code switch could meet resistance from the NRL, however, with chairman Peter V’landys having publicly insisted that devout Christian Folau’s controversial stance on homosexuality is incompatible with the game’s ethos.
According to the Telegraph, though, Folau would even be willing to allow the NRL to vet his future social media posts if it allowed him to move back to the competition.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle is standing by the move to settle with Folau, saying it was a “commercial decision” that gives the national body certainty.
Castle says the organisation “didn’t back down” but rather it ensured the cost to RA was less than going to a trial, which was due to start in February.
Castle had earlier tweeted to dismiss a reported settlement figure of $8 million as “wildly inaccurate” and she says RA won’t have to make changes to the budget or take money away from community rugby to pay Folau.
Addressing media at RA HQ on Thursday, Castle said the national body was covered by insurance but couldn’t discuss to what extent.
“The terms are confidential but what you do try and find is situation that gives RA some certainty and this settlement gives us that and also ensured that cost to RA was less than seeing a trial through to the end of February,” Castle said.
“We didn’t back down – we needed to give the game some certainty.”
Castle said the organisation made the right call in sacking Folau in April for his religiously-motivated but inflammatory anti-gay social media posts.
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