Folau signing 'accepted;' prompts Super League rule change

Catalans Dragons are Israel Folau's first club since being sacked by Rugby Australia last year. Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Rugby's Super League has said it accepts that Australian Israel Folau has been legally registered as Catalan Dragons player but says it has taken steps to be able to intervene in controversial signings.

Former rugby union player Folau had his contract with Rugby Australia torn up in May for posting a meme on social media that said hell awaits "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers" and other groups -- one of a series of postings that angered LGBT campaigners.

Folau, who had enjoyed a successful stint in the National Rugby League with Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos before switching codes, was told he would not be allowed a return to NRL.

But the Rugby Football League (RFL) allowed the player's registration with French Super League club Dragons, who he joined last month.

The Super League Board met on Wednesday and said in a statement: "With the season under way, we now feel it is important for Super League to separate what is an off-field matter from what is happening on the field.

"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."

"As a sport we have an impressive and enviable track record when it comes to equality, diversity and inclusion and we will continue our great work in those areas."

The owner and chairman of Super League side Hull Kingston Rovers has warned Dragons they could face legal action as a result of signing Folau."

Wigan Warriors have said their round eight game against the Dragons on March 22 will be a Pride Day with the club's players wearing Rainbow socks and boot laces and with gay rights groups invited to be part of the day.

Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch continued to defend his club's decision to sign Folau.

"After numerous discussions with the coach and the manager, and with my board of directors, we took the decision to give a second chance to this great player, because he and his agent gave us guarantees about what happened," Guasch said.

"He didn't want to go back to what had happened, and he wanted, above all, to look to the future and rebuild his image, rebuild his character."