The Super League board has voted unanimously in favour of measures to ensure the competition has “greater authority to stop controversial signings” after Israel Folau joined Catalans Dragons.
The Dragons last week announced the arrival of former Australia rugby union international Folau, who was sacked by Rugby Australia (RA) in May 2019.
RA said Folau committed a “high-level breach” of its code of conduct after he posted hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” on Instagram. He had been warned over previous online posts in 2018.
The 30-year-old, who has switched codes to pen a one-year deal with Catalans, appealed the verdict and subsequently came to a financial agreement with RA in December.
Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone said the league “deplores the homophobic comments Israel Folau has made in the past”, but the move was ratified by the Rugby Football League (RFL).
The RFL said: “We don’t believe that, under our current regulatory framework, [Folau’s comments] can prevent his participation in the sport.”
However, Super League is now moving to ensure it has a say in future deals, keen to avoid a repeat of the situation with Folau where it was powerless to prevent his signing.
After a board meeting in Salford on Wednesday, a statement from the governing body read: “Super League has clearly and consistently outlined its position on Israel Folau.
Super League Statement: Israel Folau
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) February 5, 2020
“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.”
Folau was not involved as Catalans slumped to a 32-12 home defeat to Huddersfield Giants in their opening fixture of the 2020 campaign.