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Hull KR to lead Super League revolt against Catalans over Folau

The BBC have reported that Hull KR are leading a revolt of Super League clubs against Catalans Dragons’ signing of Israel Folau.

Hull KR’s owner, Neil Hudgell sent correspondence last week to Catalans warning them of legal action..

It has been revealed that Hudgell wrote to the Dragons,  if his club suffered any financial losses due to the signing of Folau he would pursue legal action against the French side.

He said: “I reserve my position to take proceedings v Catalans Dragons.”

This means that if any title sponsor withdraws, any external investment cannot be secured, or any damage to the reputation of Super League brand occurs, the Hull KR chairman has the right to take action.

Several other clubs, in response, have told the Dragons they supported Hudgell’s stance and would also consider legal action for damages.

It is also understood some believe they were not sufficiently consulted before the highly controversial signing was announced.

It comes as the clubs prepare to hold crisis talks with Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch at a Super League board meeting in Salford on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Dragons have cancelled a planned media appearance by Folau in Perpignan later this week as the row comes to a head.

He has begun training with Catalans, but the date of his Super League debut remains unclear as he undergoes numerous fitness tests.

Catalans Dragons, Super League and Hull KR are all yet to comment on the matter.

Folau, who was sacked by Rugby Australia for homophobic social media posts in April 2019, has signed a one-year deal with the Dragons.

The 30-year-old’s was dismissed for saying “hell awaits” gay people, after previously being warned over his social media posts.

He sued Rugby Australia for £7.4m, arguing he was a victim of religious discrimination, reaching a financial settlement in December.

Super League say “strict guidelines are in place” should Folau repeat such comments.

Folau said he “acknowledged the views expressed by Super League and the Rugby Football League”.

“I’m a proud Christian, my beliefs are personal, my intention is not to hurt anyone and I will not be making further public comment about them,” he said.

The Rugby Football League and Super League said they “deplored” Folau’s previous comments and it was “a difficult decision” to allow him into the competition.

Catalans Dragons chairman Guasch said they “do not support or agree” with any of  Folau’s previous comment and “do not share or condone those views”.

Halifax prop Keegan Hirst, Britain’s first openly gay rugby league player, said the decision is “disappointing and frustrating”.

Shortly after the Folau deal was released to the public, Wigan announced that their match against Catalans at the DW Stadium on 22 March would be “Pride Day”.

The club said they are inviting LGBTQ+ groups to help promote equality in the game.

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