Published: Thu, December 05, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Israel Folau, Rugby Australia reach confidential settlement

Israel Folau, Rugby Australia reach confidential settlement

In a humiliating backdown to spare the sporting body a lengthy court battle where Folau sought a whopping $14 million, Rugby Australia (RA), Folau and NSW Rugby announced on Wednesday that they had reached a settlement in their long-running stoush.

Rugby Australia said it acknowledged the Instagram post "reflected Mr Folau's genuinely held religious beliefs" and that he "did not intend to harm or offend any person".

"Mr Folau wants all Australians to know that he does not condone discrimination of any kind against any person on the grounds of their sexuality", it also said.

Since then, shocking details have emerged from the case, including an admission by Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle that she had instructed her staff to closely monitor Folau's personal social media accounts on the lookout for any posts they didn't agree with.

"We stick to our values that inclusiveness is core to the key of rugby".

In a statement released by Rugby Australia, the organisation "acknowledges and apologises" for "any hurt or harm caused" to their former player. Ultimately, Rugby Australia apologised to him and there was an apology from Folau too.

Rugby Australia and Mr Folau wish each other well for the future.

In what appears to be a sort of bilateral, nearly contradictory admission of wrongdoing, Rugby Australia acknowledged that Folau didn't mean to hurt anyone, while Folau acknowledged that he might have hurt some people.

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"The terms are confidential but what you do try and find is a situation that gives RA some certainty and this settlement gives us that and also ensured that cost to RA was less than seeing a trial through to the end of February", she said.

Folau was originally seeking $10 million but boosted the amount by $4 million in an updated statement of claim last week, arguing he could have led the Wallabies to Rugby World Cup victory in Japan.

Folau's multi-millon deal with RA was terminated after a high-level breach of the Professional Players' Code of Conduct in April after his religiously- motivated, anti-gay social media posts.

"The case changed the conversation on religious freedom, leading to a "Folau clause" in the current Religious Discrimination Bill", wrote Iles.

He attempted to settle the dispute through the Fair Work Commission but when that failed, Folau begun legal action against Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs.

Israel Folau celebrates during the 2018 Rugby Union Championship.

Just a couple of weeks ago Folau used a sermon at his father's Truth of Jesus Christ Church in western Sydney to link the bushfires and drought now ravaging parts of eastern Australia to the nation's legalising of same-sex marriage in 2018 and abortion.

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