The Parramatta Eels and the NRL confirmed today that Israel Folau will not accept a formal offer put forward by the club for the 2013 season.
The Eels made an unconditional offer to Folau this week but he has advised the club and the NRL that he will not accept the agreement.
Both the NRL and the Club had been working to ensure that Folau could be signed within the parameters of the Salary Cap and both believed that significant progress was being made.
“This has come as something of a surprise to us,” Eels Chief Executive Mr Ken Edwards said today.
“Our offer to Israel was unconditional.
“We have worked closely with the NRL and have always been confident that Salary Cap issues would be resolved.
“It is disappointing that Izzie at this stage has chosen to pursue another path but we’ve also been clear that we are about having players who are focussed on what we are trying to achieve as a club.
“It is why we had previously ruled out short term appearances with other codes.
“We are comfortable with our current playing roster ahead of the 2013 season.”
NRL Interim Chief Executive Shane Mattiske had met with Folau’s representatives before Israel announced his intention to quit AFL and had met with Parramatta to address Salary Cap issues since then:
“We worked in good faith with the club to ensure that Israel’s contract could be met within the Cap.
“Like all fans, we wanted to see Israel play the game he grew up with. League is the game he is most suited to and the one that I think would have given him the biggest challenge in facing the best athletes in the most exciting contests week in and week out.
“Ultimately though it is his choice and we have to respect that.
“I think Parramatta has done everything possible and we have certainly worked closely with them in that process.”