Awkward 'lesbian' issue surrounding Israel Folau's return bid

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Israel Folau, pictured here during a press conference in Brisbane.
Israel Folau speaks to the media during a press conference in Brisbane. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Israel Folau has been forced to respond to an awkward issue with his potential new club's team song.

Folau appeared at a press conference in Brisbane on Friday alongside mining magnate Clive Palmer, announcing his intention to join the Southport Tigers - an amateur rugby league team on the Gold Coast in the Queensland League.

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Palmer threatened legal action if Folau is prevented from resuming his career alongside his two brothers at the Southport club.

But Folau could be forced to confront a strange issue with the Tigers' team song if he is granted permission to play.

Channel 7's Bianca Stone reported on Friday that the Tigers’ team song includes the line: “We want lesbians on our faces”.

Stone later tweeted that she had confirmed with the club that they will not stop singing the line if Folau joins.

“An insider has told me they won’t stop singing it just because Folau is wearing the Tiger colours,” Stone wrote.

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Folau said he wasn't aware of the line in the team song.

“I’ve just signed with the club. I have no idea about what the song is,” Folau said at the press conference.

Palmer slammed the line of questioning, denying the line even exists.

“I’ve been a player and been there for 50 years and I haven’t heard it,” the billionaire said.

“It sounds like a beat-up and someone’s given you that. I just don’t think it’s true. I can say as a player who played at Tigers.

“I was in the dressing room last Sunday and they weren’t singing the song then. I think it’s sensationalism.”

Israel Folau and Clive Palmer, pictured here at their press conference.
Israel Folau and Clive Palmer announced his intention to join the Southport Tigers. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Catalans Dragons consider legal action against Folau

Meanwhile, the Catalans Dragons are considering taking legal action against Folau after discovering his latest attempt to make a comeback in Australia.

The 32-year-old dual-code international was given compassionate leave by the France-based Super League club at the start of the year after a close family member fell seriously ill.

However Catalans believe he still remains contracted to the club for the 2021 season.

Catalans football manager Alex Chan says he was "shocked" by news of Folau's bid to sign for Southport Tigers.

The Catalans prepared for their current season without Folau, but Chan says they always hoped he would return at some stage during the year.

"Our stance hasn't changed," Chan told the Press Association. "We've given Israel and his family time to get back together and make sure that everything is going good and we expected that, once Izzy found some stability, we've left the door open.

Israel and Maria Folau, pictured here leaving Federal Court after a meeting with Rugby Australia in 2019.
Israel and Maria Folau leave Federal Court after a meeting with Rugby Australia in 2019. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

"We still hold his contract, he's still a registered player with Catalans Dragons. It was a big shock to see what was put out there.

"We can't just let things happen like this. I've got to meet with the club president and our directors but I've already made our legal team aware of the situation that is starting to unfold.

"We need to start being pro-active from our end in case things start to escalate and go nasty."

Chan said his club lost sponsorship after taking a gamble over Folau's signing ahead of the 2020 season, and insists they will demand recompense from any club wanting to take over his registration.

But the legal talk cut no ice with Palmer.

"The truth about it, and we've had a look at that, obviously before we signed Israel up, is he signed a contract with them in January," said Palmer.

"It required them to make substantial payments to Israel, which they've failed and defaulted in doing. So in a legal sense they've repudiated that contract.

"Israel's accepted that repudiation and the contract's terminated. That's the legal position, so they don't have a leg to stand on."

with AAP

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