Folau left out of squad for Catalans Dragons match on Sunday
PERPIGNAN, France (AP) — Israel Folau has been left off the Catalans Dragons squad for a rugby league match at Wakefield Trinity on Sunday.
The French team has faced a backlash for handing a 12-month deal to Folau, who has been widely condemned for posting homophobic comments on social media which led to him being cut by Rugby Australia last year.
In an Instagram post in April that caused widespread outrage and led to his suspension by Rugby Australia, Folau condemned "drunks, homosexuals" and warned "hell awaits" them. He was later fired before reaching an out-of-court settlement with the organization in December. In November, Folau linked the bushfires that have devastated Australia as God’s punishment for legalizing same-sex marriage and abortion.
Wakefield's upcoming home games against Catalans and then Warrington are to be celebrations of inclusion — with physical disability, learning disability and women's teams all participating.
“Wakefield Trinity pride themselves on being an all-inclusive club where anyone from any sector of life can watch, play, and get involved in our great game," the English club said Thursday in a statement. “This is where our focus will and should be."
The arrival of Folau dominated the agenda at a routine meeting of clubs in Europe's Super League in Salford, England, on Wednesday and they came to an agreement on how to deal with future signings.
The team's chairman, Bernard Guasch, has said his club does not agree with Folau's views and that it signed an agreement with the Rugby Football League that any transgression by him will immediately terminate his contract.
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