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Super League's First Openly Gay Player "Shocked" At Catalans Dragons Signing Israel Folau

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Super League's First Openly Gay Player "Shocked" At Catalans Dragons Signing Israel Folau

The first openly gay player in Super League history has slammed the decision to let Israel Folau join Catalan Dragons.

Wakefield Trinity's Keegan Hirst said he was "shocked and disappointed" that the controversial Australian was allowed to sign for a Super League team.

Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia last year for homophobic comments, but signed a 12-month deal with the French team on Tuesday.

Israel Folau signed with Catalan Dragons in Super League this week
Israel Folau signed with Catalan Dragons in Super League this week
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The rugby union convert last played league a decade ago for the Brisbane Broncos in Australia's NRL.

But Hirst led the outcry against Folau's signing and took a swipe at the RFL.

He tweeted: "I'm shocked and disappointed at the signing of Israel Folau.

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"Our great game is tasked with fighting against homophobia and standing up for the values it puts such high stock in.

"It shows none of the bravery, cameraderie or integrity RFL expects from its players, staff and fans."

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He continued: "This has nothing to do with beliefs. It has everything to do with homophobia.

"There are millions of people practicing their religion who are not homophobic.

"Prejudice is prejudice and using religion, political beliefs or anything else to justify it is not ok."

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone said the league were powerless to prevent Folau signing for the Catalan Dragons.

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Israel Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia for homophobic comments
Israel Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia for homophobic comments

Elstone said: "There is a strong feeling that the decision to sign him lets down many people connected to our sport, however Super League does not have the authority to veto the registration of players.

"Israel Folau is a free agent who has the right to work and he has not been charged or found guilty of any criminal offence.

"Catalans Dragons has assured Super League that strict guidelines are in place to prevent the player from repeating his comments.

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"They have also assured us that his contract will be terminated immediately should he do so."

Topics: Israel Folau

Sunni Upal
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