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United Kingdom

Brisbane Broncos put the feelers out for Israel Folau who is training hard for a return to rugby

The Brisbane Broncos have put out the feelers for Israel Folau who is said to be training hard as he prepares to return to the game. 

The former Wallabies winger reached an out-of-court settlement with Rugby Australia this week after lodging a $14 million compensation claim for wrongful termination following his infamous homophobic post on social media.

The Sunday Telegraph reports the 30-year-old has meanwhile been training hard to get himself fit for a preferred return to rugby league.

Any cross-code switch could meet resistance from the NRL, however, with chairman Peter V'landys having publicly insisted that devout Christian Folau's controversial stance on homosexuality is incompatible with the game's ethos. 

Israel Folau played for the Wallabies before his contract was terminated by Rugby Australia

Folau made a controversial Instagram post (pictured) in April that resulted in the termination of his contract with Rugby Australia

According to the Telegraph Folau would even be willing to allow the NRL to vet his future social media posts if it allowed him to move back to the competition.

Potential suitors are said to be monitoring the situation closely, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting Brisbane Broncos have already made a tentative inquiry with the game's governing body to see if they can bring Folau back into the 13-man game. 

RA said they're aware of the expected offers and officials are stunned.

Folau said he didn't want to move overseas to continue his career and believes he has three years of football left in him and is in shape for any fitness test an NRL club would put him through.

Folau poses for a photo with his 32-year-old wife Maria who plays netball for New Zealand

Folau played four seasons in the NRL, with the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos, before a short-lived stint in the AFL and then a move to rugby union. 

After he was sacked by RA, Folau made a $10 million claim for wrongful dismissal, which he increased to $14 million last week.

Both sides issued apologies on Wednesday after a rumoured multi-million dollar settlement, but Folau did not change his position on homosexuals. 

After the settlement he thanked God alongside his 32-year-old wife Maria.

It was initially reported that he walked away with a figure close to $8 million, but Rugby Australia disputed the sum, and other news reports have estimated an amount of $3-4 million. 

Folau played four seasons in the NRL, with the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos, before a short-lived stint in the AFL and then a move to rugby union 

He apologised for any 'hurt or harm caused' but did not step back from his original anti-gay claim.   

By agreeing to an out-of-court settlement - the terms of which are confidential - the sport's governing body has saved itself further crippling legal costs. 

It had come under fire by some for sacking Folau over his religious beliefs.  

While the case was ongoing Folau linked drought and bushfires to the legalisation of same-sex marriage and abortion at his family's church.

Rugby Australia, NSW Rugby and Israel Folau's settlement statement 

Rugby Australia, NSW Rugby and Israel Folau have today settled their legal dispute following the dismissal of Israel Folau after he posted a religious message on social media (the Social Media Post).

The Social Media Post reflected Mr Folau's genuinely held religious beliefs, and Mr Folau did not want to harm or offend any person when he uploaded the Social Media Post.

Mr Folau wants all Australians to know that he does not condone discrimination of any kind against any person on the grounds of their sexuality and that he shares Rugby Australia's commitment to inclusiveness and diversity.

Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby do not in any way agree with the content of the Social Media Post. Inclusiveness is one of Rugby's core values and it welcomes all people to the game, including all members of the LGBTI community.

While it was not Rugby Australia's intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus. Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused.

Rugby Australia and Mr Folau wish each other well for the future. The parties do not intend to comment further on the terms of their settlement as it is confidential.

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