Folau's sacking the correct decision, says Owens

21 Mai, 2019, 13:38 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Chief executive Raelene Castle has defended Rugby Australia's handling of the Israel Folau saga

In a statement released after the panel gave its approval of his sacking by RA, Folau said: "It has been a privilege and an honour to represent Australia and my home state of New South Wales, playing the game I love".

"As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expression", Folau said in a statement.

Interestingly, the Waratah winger's anti-gay post made in April has not been deleted from his Instagram account despite the star being completely aware of the impeding consequences. The saga also has thrown Australia's preparations for the Rugby World Cup into turmoil.

"Rugby Australia's position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue this course of action", she said.

Folau has until 5pm [7pm NZ time] on Monday to appeal against the loss of his lucrative Rugby Australia contract and is expected to brush the option of a second hearing to appeal a termination decision, and instead head straight to court.

"I am deeply saddened by today's decision to terminate my employment and I am considering my options. And that's really important, that everyone can feel safe in that environment and express their views, be (they) religious, be race, be creed, background, different nations coming together to play rugby".

"I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God's word", he said.

While Folau's post sparked outrage from some quarters, RA's handling of the case has also upset players of Pacific island heritage who fear their religious beliefs are under attack.

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'Rugby is quite clear there is a place for everybody in the sport and rightly so.

"If it was me, I'd be saying I can't disagree with anything you've said, Izzy, because you've quoted the Bible, and what I can say is we think you're a very good person".

Israel Folau of the Wallabies looks on during the Third International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and Ireland at Allianz Stadium on June 23, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.

Israel Folau became Super Rugby's all-time leading try scorer just days before the scandal.

Folau told people in his church on the weekend that he'd had chances "to potentially make the situation a little bit easier" and he could have gone back to play the game but he refused to compromise on his beliefs.

Speaking in a wide-ranging interview on Rugby.com, Castle said it had been a hard time for everyone in the Rugby Australia community but that the organisation had to take a stand.

Castle said she'd been in touch with professional players and assured that Rugby Australia "fully supports their right to their own beliefs and nothing that has happened changes that". "When we say rugby is a game for all, we mean it".

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