Catalans Dragons have announced the signing of controversial Australian outside back Israel Folau with immediate effect.

The 30-year-old dual-code international, who has not played since being sacked by Rugby Australia last May for making homophobic comments on social media, has signed a one-year contract with the Super League club.

Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch said: "We want to give Israel a new opportunity to shine on the pitch."

Folau, who played for Melbourne and Brisbane before switching codes, was told he would not be allowed to return to the NRL but the Rugby Football League has confirmed it will not prevent his registration with the Dragons.

A statement said: "This is a difficult decision, as the RFL places a high value on the sport's reputation in prioritising inclusion and diversity - and deplores the player's previous comments.

"However 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." 

Wigan are scheduled to face the Dragons on 22 March in the Super League.

Rather than seek to avoid any possible controversy, the Lancastrians have embraced the opportunity to showcase their commitment to equality and diversity by staging a Pride Day on the fourth Sunday in March.