Israel Folau officially returns to rugby league

Catalans Dragons have officially announced the signing of fallen Wallabies star Israel Folau, effective immediately.

The 30-year-old cross-code star who has not played since he was sacked by Rugby Australia last year for making homophobic comments on social media, has signed a one-year contract with the Super League club.

Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch said: "We want to give Israel a new opportunity to shine on the pitch."

Wide World of Sports had previously reported that Folau was poised to make his return to rugby league via the Super League.

https://twitter.com/DragonsOfficiel/status/1222134807024611328

The French outfit were reportedly desperate for a centre with the Super League season beginning this week.

They had already knocked back by Cronulla's Josh Dugan and Souths' Bryson Goodwin in the last few days.

In a brief statement Folau expressed his excitement over returning to rugby league while addressing the controversial saga that has followed him for the past nine months.

"I acknowledge the views expressed by Super League and the Rugby Football League," he said.

"I'm a proud Christian, my beliefs are personal, my intention is not to hurt anyone and I will not be making further public comment about them.

"I look forward to my return to the great game of Rugby League with the Catalans Dragons."

In a frank statement the governing body over the Super League, the Rugby Football League, announced that they had deliberated over the signing and its effects for the game.

"This is a difficult decision, as the RFL places a high value on the sport's reputation in prioritising Inclusion and Diversity – and deplores the player's previous comments," the statement read.

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"However the moral responsibility for deciding whether to sign a player sits with individual clubs.

"The player has not been charged or found guilty of any criminal offence.

"However distasteful his previous comments, we don't believe that, under our current regulatory framework, these can prevent his participation in the sport.

"We have sought and received reassurances from both the player and the club regarding future behaviour."

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