Australian Rugby League commission chair Peter V’landys has reiterated the NRL’s stance over allowing Israel Folau to return to the code after the Australian Christian Lobby launched a campaign to allow the ex-Wallaby a career lifeline.
Folau recently returned to Australia with his wife, Maria, and still holds a contract with Super League club Catalans Dragons.
Folau reportedly wants to remain in Australia since returning and was linked with a move to St George Illawarra earlier this season.
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The 32-year-old, who was famously sacked by Rugby Australia for homophobic comments made on his social media pages, now has the support of the Australian Christian Lobby in his bid to return to the NRL.
On Tuesday they took out a page ad in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, launched an online petition with a campaign entitled #lethimplay.
Fans have been seen showing cards with the hashtag at NRL games, but V’landys says the game’s authorities won’t budge on permitting Folau to return.
“This Christian Lobby with their full-page ads basically are wasting their resources and money because there is no application,” V’landys told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“There are a lot more things in life that they could be lobbying for, like [an end to] poverty and inequality and all those sort of things, rather than this.”
The petition now has 12,000 signatures and ACL director Martyn Iles said the campaign was launched without Folau’s blessing.
“The purpose of the ads is to connect more people with the campaign, and anybody who wants to have a say has the opportunity to do so,” Iles said.
“We’re just hoping the NRL will allow one of the clubs to give Israel a contract.
“That’s the problem at the moment. There are clubs that want him. That’s the reality. There are players, there are coaches that want him.”