Folau row rumbles on as parliamentary group weighs in

Super League clubs have unanimously agreed to introduce measures to potentially block controversial signings such as Israel Folau in the future.
But there is actually very little top-flight clubs can legally do, with nothing more than a gentleman’s agreement.
Folau’s signing for Catalans Dragons was at the top of the agenda at a Super League meeting in Salford last week, with many clubs still unhappy he has been registered in the game.
Super League issued a brief statement shortly after that meeting, saying: “The Super League Board accepts the legalities around the RFL’s decision to register Israel Folau, and the Board has voted unanimously to put in place measures that ensure the Super League has greater authority to stop controversial signings such as this in the future.”
However, League Express has learned that those measures are light on the ground in terms of legally binding rules and loopholes.
Instead, all twelve clubs, including the Catalans, reportedly agreed that any side wishing to sign a player with a chequered or controversial history must bring it to the attention of other top-flight teams before completing any paperwork.
That will allow all sides to air their grievances or feelings on the matter.
But even if there were to be a backlash from clubs, the player could still be registered: as there is nothing Super League can legally do to prevent a registration.
Catalans owner Bernard Guasch was not at the meeting, despite his presence being requested by the other clubs. There is also still frustration over Catalans’ pursuit of Folau, and one chief executive said: “Catalans have been allowed to get away with murder again.”
Meanwhile the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group has written to RFL Chief Executive Ralph Rimmer to add its voice to those who have objected to Folau signing for the Catalans.
“The signing of Israel Folau contradicts everything Rugby League stands for and prides itself on,” said the letter signed by the APPG Chair Judith Cummins (pictured), the MP for Bradford South.
“Given the considerable progress and lead that the Rugby Football League have provided in ensuring that our great game is in the vanguard of ‘inclusivity and diversity’, members of the APPG wish to register their disappointment and the group would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss our concerns at a future meeting of the APPG.”
Folau will take part in a two-hour opposed session between his new club, the Catalans Dragons, and the NRL’s two-time defending premiers, who are setting up base in Barcelona for a few days ahead of the World Club Challenge against St Helens on February 22.
Meanwhile Folau will feature with the Catalans in an opposed training session with Sydney Roosters in the week leading up to their World Club Challenge clash against St Helens on 22 February.
There have been some calls in Australia for the Roosters to pull out of the session, but their coach Trent Robinson has confirmed that it will go ahead.
“An opposed session for two hours does not mean we are validating his views,” Robinson said.
“It was organised last December, before we knew that Izzy had signed with Catalans. In the end, let’s train.
“It’s a hard thing for me because I’ve known Israel for a while now. How do you like a person, absolutely detest a part of what they stand for, but look from the outside about how this guy will prove himself as a team-mate and positive role model?”