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Australia chief says Folau not welcome to return to NRL

Australia chief says Folau not welcome to return to NRL
FILE PHOTO: Britain Rugby Union - Australia Captain's Run - Twickenham Stadium - 7/10/16 Israel Folau of Australia during training Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne -
Reuters Staff(Reuters)
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter Beattie has poured cold water on the prospect of sacked Wallabies fullback Israel Folau returning to the National Rugby League.

News Ltd media reported on Wednesday that NRL clubs had made enquiries about Folau returning to the 13-man code after his four-year contract was torn up last month for an offensive post on social media.

Beattie said the NRL would not sanction the 30-year-old’s return.

“We are an inclusive game with respect for all. Israel has social media posts online that go against what our game stands for,” Beattie told Australia Associated Press.

“As it stands, he will not be considered for registration. What Israel chooses to do in relation to his social media posts and his faith is a matter for him.”

Folau, a fundamentalist Christian, was sacked for posting on social media that hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers” and other groups.

The post remains on his Instagram account and has over 70,000 “likes”.

Dual international Folau started his professional sporting career in the NRL, playing 91 games for the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos.

After a less successful two-year stint in Australian Rules football, Folau switched to union in 2013 and scored 37 tries in 73 tests, while claiming the John Eales medal as the country’s best player a record three times.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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