By Stewart Perrie
Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for Israel Folau to be allowed to play sport in Australia.
The former Wallaby left our shores two years ago after he was dropped from the squad for posting a homophobic and problematic picture on his Instagram.
There have been rumblings that he could make a return to rugby league and a new campaign has shown just how popular that idea would be.
A petition has amassed more than 13,000 signatures and comes with the tag line #lethimplay.
Unsurprisingly, the petition and online campaign was kickstarted by the Australian Christian Lobby, who believes Folau should be permitted to play in the NRL if he wishes.
ACL director Martyn Iles told 7News that he should be welcomed with open arms because he's so talented.
"Israel Folau is a man that has broken no law, a man who has broken no rule of the game," Iles said.
He added: "We're just hoping the NRL will allow one of the clubs to give Israel a contract.
"That's the problem at the moment. There are clubs that want him. That's the reality. There are players, there are coaches that want him. [As for] the campaign; it's early days and it's going to continue."
The campaign didn't get Folau's backing before it was launched, but it has already received support from an Aussie politician.
Nationals Senator Matt Canavan added: "Blokes who have been caught drink driving or committed domestic violence can play footy, why can't a guy who's just quoting the bible play too?"
The Australian Christian Lobby is planning on upping the ante with their campaign by taking out a full-page advert in newspapers and buying ad space on billboards and national television to elevate their message.
Imagine all that money being spent on helping the homeless or feeding the vulnerable?
It appears the huge effort to bring Folau back will be thwarted before it can even gather pace as the NRL boss has already slapped down the idea.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter V'landys said: "This Christian Lobby with their full-page ads basically are wasting their resources and money because there is no application.
"There are a lot more things in life that they could be lobbying for, like [an end to] poverty and inequality and all those sort of things, rather than this.
"Israel Folau, like every other player, has to follow a process. The process is he has to have a contract with a club and then he has to apply for registration. Neither of those things has been done."
Folau has since retreated to France where he is playing with the Catalan Dragons.
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: Israel Folau, Rugby Australia, Rugby Union, Rugby League, nrl, Australia