Catalans Dragons respond to rainbow flag reports but RFL still investigating

The RFL is investigating claims rainbow flags were removed at a Catalans Dragons game, but the club has clarified its stance.

Catalans Dragons insist a rainbow flag was only ordered to be removed at their match against Castleford Tigers as it was covering advertising boards, although the Rugby Football League (RFL) is taking time to investigate.

There were reports of rainbow flags, a representative symbol of LGBT pride, being taken down following Israel Folau's Catalans debut.

Former union star Folau was playing for the first time since he was sacked by Rugby Australia (RA) last May for posting homophobic comments on social media.

The Dragons say they have analysed footage of the incident and have offered an explanation, adamant pro-LGBT banners are welcome at their stadium.

"Catalans Dragons are happy to confirm that supporters flags are welcome in all the stands at Gilbert Brutus Stadium," a statement read.

"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."

However, the RFL is not yet closing the case.

A short statement read: "We thank Catalans Dragons for instigating their own investigation, but we will need time to consider all the available evidence before reaching any conclusions."

Folau scored an early try on his first rugby league outing since 2010, helping Catalans defeat Castleford 36-18 in Perpignan on Saturday.