Israel Folau: Super League investigates fans' rainbow flags claim

Israel Folau during his debut for Catalan Dragons against Castleford Tigers
Israel Folau during his debut for Catalan Dragons against Castleford Tigers on Saturday

The Super League is investigating after two spectators say they were told to remove rainbow flags during Israel Folau's debut at Catalans Dragons.

Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia for posting homophobic comments on social media but joined Catalans last month.

The two women say they were told to remove the flags, a symbol of LGBT pride, "on health and safety grounds".

"Everybody should have the right to respectfully express their views. We are investigating," said the league.

It added: "We will have more information by Monday."

In what was the ex-rugby union international's first rugby league match since leaving NRL side Brisbane Broncos in 2010, Australian Folau scored after six minutes to help end Castleford Tigers' 100% start with a 36-18 scoreline.

One of the two fans, Alison Grey, posted a photo on Twitter of her holding the flag at the Stade Gilbert Brutus ground, and said: "Just been told I am not allowed this flag because the club does not allow it. How disgusting #loveislove #castleford #pride."

The Tigers' supporter added: "I was twice asked to remove it. Firstly as I was told it was against health and safety. Secondly because it is against club policy."

However, a Catalans Dragons spokesperson said: "Rainbow flags are not banned at our ground. It is not forbidden," before adding: "We are gathering more information."

Catalans' signing of Folau was met with widespread criticism within rugby league and, at a board meeting earlier this month, Super League voted unanimously to have "greater authority" to stop future "controversial signings".

Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia in May for saying on social media that "Hell awaits" gay people, having previously been warned over his posts, and later reached a settlement after suing the governing body for alleged religious discrimination.

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