Clive Palmer has threatened to take legal action against Queensland Rugby League if it doesn't rubber stamp Israel Folau's return to footy in Australia.
At a press conference on Friday, Folau announced he was making a comeback to rugby league Down Under after signing with amateur club Southport Tigers in the Gold Coast's A-Grade competition.
Palmer is backing Folau's move to Southport, but the deal still needs to be ratified by the QRL. However, the mining magnate has threatened to issue a Federal Court injunction against the governing body for religious discrimination if it doesn't give Folau the green light by Wednesday.
Folau's contract with Rugby Australia was torn up in 2019 for homophobic posts made on social media, and Palmer's threat comes as the QRL reportedly wants a written guarantee from Folau he will not publicly express his views on homosexuality — which include the belief gay people will go to hell unless they repent for their sins.
In a statement released on Sunday night, Palmer said: "Israel Folau is a perfect role model for the game and the QRL needs to recognise that.
"Israel doesn't drink, smoke or take drugs. He has never been charged with a criminal offence. He loves his wife and his son. He has a rugby playing record second to none.
"If he is not registered by Wednesday, I believe he will issue an injunction in the Federal Court of Australia against the QRL for their discrimination against him on religious grounds.
"I believe he will seek orders requiring the QRL to register him so he can play for the Southport Tigers against the Burleigh Bears."
The news of Folau's rugby league return in Queensland came as a shock to his UK Super League club Catalans Dragons, who recruited the football star after he was banished from Australian rugby. Folau was contracted to Catalans for this season, though he had been allowed to return home on compassionate leave because of a sick family member.
When noises were being made about a potential return to the NRL with St George, Catalans hit out and said they expected Folau back with them this season. However, that isn't happening, and Catalans football manager Alex Chan said he was "shocked" by Friday's developments.
"Our stance hasn't changed," Chan told PA. "We've given Israel and his family time to get back together and make sure that everything is going good and we expected that, once Izzy found some stability, we've left the door open.
"We still hold his contract, he's still a registered player with Catalans Dragons. It was a big shock to see what was put out there.
"We can't just let things happen like this. I've got to meet with the club president and our directors but I've already made our legal team aware of the situation that is starting to unfold.
"We need to start being proactive from our end in case things start to escalate and go nasty."
Folau: I stand by the bible
At his press conference on Friday, Folau thanked Jesus Christ for the opportunity to sign with the Tigers — a club his brothers represent and Palmer is a patron of.
"I just want to give thanks to my lord and saviour Jesus Christ for this opportunity," Folau said.
"I am excited to be here and link up with Clive. The opportunity he's given me and my family is something I'm really grateful for."
When asked about the homophobic social media posts which derailed his rugby union career two years ago, Folau responded: "As a Christian I stand by the bible and what the bible says.
"Every written word that's written in that book, I stand by that. That's all I say about that,
"As I said, I believe what the bible says. And it's clear. I didn't write the bible. That's God's written and I believe that wholeheartedly.
"You've got to read the bible in context. You ask me all these questions but have you read the bible?"