Fans who attended Israel Folau’s debut game for the Catalans Dragons are claiming they had rainbow flags confiscated by security guards. The team disputes the assertions, however.
Alison Grey posted a picture and wrote: “Just been told I am not allowed this flag because the club does not allow it. How disgusting #loveislove #castleford #pride.”
Grey, who was at the Stade Gilbert Brutus supporting Catalan’s opponents, Castleford, says that security informed her she had to remove the symbol of LGBTIQ+ pride for “health and safety” reasons.
She wasn’t the only fan who was told to remove a rainbow flag, further pictures posted to social media revealed.
However the team in an official statement said:
“Catalans Dragons are happy to confirm that supporters flags are welcome in all the stands at Gilbert Brutus Stadium.
“We noted the complaints of certain Castleford supporters but, having reviewed the CCTV footage and numerous photos in the media, we can confirm that supporters were able to display their flags and colours throughout.
“However, it is important that flags and banners do not cover advertising boards.
“Stadium security staff are briefed to ensure that advertising boards are kept clear throughout the game.
“The investigation found that one person was asked to remove a flag because it was covering an advertising board.
“The only banners and flags forbidden in our stadium and other sports stadia would be those which are insulting or inciting violence.
“We can confirm that no such incidents were reported on Saturday during our match against Castleford.”
The Super League, in a statement released after the controversy broke, declared that “everybody should have the right to respectfully express their views”
That explanation is unlikely to satisfy fans who oppose Folau’s homophobic views.
Alison’s brother, Chris Grey, tweeted a picture of his sister being interviewed by the media and wrote: “Catalan have signed a known homophobe who cannot be registered to play rugby in Australia, and are now acting like this. Action must be taken. It is unacceptable.”
The controversy overshadowed Folau’s performance in the game, but it’s hard to blame anyone but Folau for distracting from the on-field action.
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