Wigan Warriors have responded to Israel Folau’s arrival into Super League by declaring their March 22 home match versus Catalan Dragons as their official Pride Day in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Having had various links back into the 15-a-side game come to nothing in recent months, the axed Wallabies international has decided change rugby codes and take up a contract with the French-based Dragons who operate out of Perpignan.
League was where Folau first started making a name for himself, shining at Melbourne Storm before switching to Brisbane Broncos. He also played State of Origin and represented Australia before changing sports.
He will now return to the 13-a-aside code after having his contract terminated last year by Rugby Australia for homophobic remarks on social media.
An out-of-court settlement followed late last year following months of fallout stemming from Folau being sacked over his controversial social media posts, which read: “Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves.”
(Continue reading below…)
Rugby Australia reaches settlement in its legal battle with Israel Folau
On learning that Folau has joined the Dragons, Wigan quickly decided their home game versus the French club will see Warriors players wear rainbow socks and laces at a match where LGBTQ+ groups, both locally and nationally, will be invited.
Wigan executive director Kris Radlinski explained: “Here at Wigan Warriors we are committed to the core values of inclusion and respect.
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“Our community foundation have a long history of supporting local LGBTQ+ groups and initiatives, and we want everyone who engages with our game to feel welcome, valued and most of all, respected.
“Rugby league has a strong history of inclusion, of breaking down barriers and of being a forward-thinking sport. Today, more than any day, it is vitally important we reiterate that message.
“We’re looking forward to working with charities, local and hopefully national groups, to make this day a success.”
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