Folau move sparks rule change by angry clubs
Israel Folau cannot avoid controversy, with his signing at the Super League club Catalans Dragons sparking a rule change from rivals angry at his recruitment.
A meeting of club bosses in Salford, England, voted "unanimously" to stop controversial signings in the future.
Folau, 30, who was sacked by Rugby Australia for his anti-gay Instagram posts, will be allowed to play this season despite the opposition by clubs.
Teams for the Catalans Dragons fixture against Wakefield will be published later on Thursday, with opinions divided on whether Folau will be picked.
Folau, a cross code superstar, was expected to dominate in the UK Super League but there were questions about his limited preparation.
Super League clubs released a statement early on Thursday Australian time, outlining their frustration.
"Super League has clearly and consistently outlined its position on Israel Folau," a statement said. "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."
News Corp Australia understands that clubs were only told of Folau's recruitment last week, after he had signed up.
"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," the league statement added.
"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."
Rugby Football League did not answer questions about the club's proposed rule change.
A league spokesman instead pointed to a January 28 statement where it said: "The moral responsibility for deciding whether to sign a player sits with individual clubs. The player has not been charged or found guilty of any criminal offence.
"However distasteful his previous comments, we don't believe that, under our current regulatory framework, these can prevent his participation in the sport."
Folau settled a multimillion-dollar unfair dismissal claim with Rugby Australia in December, and received an apology.
His case became a lightning rod for debate as he said he was defending freedom of speech and his religious beliefs.
The former Wallaby, Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos player has moved to Catalan Dragons in the south of France with his wife Maria.
Folau has said he was excited to play for the Dragons and return to rugby league in a club sponsored interview.
The Dragons cancelled a press conference this week and refused interview requests.