'A place of friendship': Israel Folau's club make shock LGBT move

The Catalans Dragons have made a surprise U-turn less than a month after sparking controversy for trying to confiscate a fan's rainbow flag.

Alison Grey wore the flag to protest the signing of Israel Folau, who was forced to sign with the Super League club after a lengthy legal dispute with Rugby Australia.

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In a series of posts on Twitter, Grey and her brother Chris claimed Catalans Dragons officials twice asked her to remove her rainbow flag.

However, in a stunning turn of events, the Catalans Dragons have now invited a local LGBT group to their match against Salford on Saturday as a show of goodwill.

The Catalans, who say they do not agree with Folau's views, insist flags are welcome at Stade Gilbert Brutus and were later cleared of any wrongdoing by the Rugby Football League, who advised the club to take action to prevent any further confusion over stewarding.

Now the Dragons have extended their hand of friendship to the Perpignan branch of the national LGBT Association and a spokesman said the group would have an information stand at Saturday's game against the Red Devils.

‘We all want to build something positive’

"We had a meeting earlier this week with them and it was really positive," said the spokesman. "They understood our position and the reasons we organised this action.

Israel Folau's club has extended an olive branch to the LGBT community. Pic: Getty/Twitter

"In fact, they invited us in the press to open the discussions so we replied. We all want to build something positive.

"It was important to show our stadium is a place of friendship, warmth and hospitality, in particular after the bad buzz created by the fake story of the Castleford Tigers fan."

Folau, who was signed despite widespread opposition, claimed that "hell awaits gays" and was sacked by Rugby Australia last May for posting homophobic comments on social media.

The former Wallabies star signed a 12-month contract and is set to make his third appearance for the Catalans.

With AAP