New York silent on Folau link

New York have declined to comment on speculation that they are interested in a move for controversial former Australian international Israel Folau.

Reports in Australia have suggested that the new club, which still plans to begin playing in the RFL structure from the 2021 season, has eyed up Folau as a big name to add to their playing roster as they look to make an impression in the city.

But when approached about the situation by League Express and asked whether they were indeed interested in signing Folau, New York chief executive Ricky Wilby declined to comment.

League Express understands, however, that internal discussions have taken place behind the scenes among the power brokers of the franchise, about whether it would be a good idea to sign Folau.

Folau recently reached an out-of-court settlement with Rugby Australia after lodging a $14 million compensation claim for wrongful termination in the wake of an alleged homophobic social media post.

Folau is now a free agent and is reportedly open to the possibility of returning to Rugby League, where he began his career over a decade ago.

But it remains unclear whether he could be playing against the likes of Coventry and West Wales, after New York’s refusal to comment on the story.

Meanwhile, League Express also understands that both New York and Ottawa have been given assurances that they will receive central funding should, as expected, they come into League 1 in 2021.

Toronto declined to take any central funding when they began to play in League 1, but at a recent meeting of Championship and League 1 clubs earlier this month, it’s understood that it was agreed that New York and Ottawa will receive the same basic funding share as every other League 1 club.

Whether they receive more depends on their key performance indicators.

League Express has already revealed earlier this year how factors such as stadium, social media following and more will determine a portion of a club’s central funding moving forward.

New York and Ottawa will be subject to those conditions themselves, after clubs approved a motion to ensure they got funding, rather than go down the Toronto route.