Israel Folau settles dispute with Rugby Australia in confidential settlement

04 Décembre, 2019, 11:39 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Israel Folau

Rugby Australia and Israel Folau reached a settlement Wednesday that will end the former Wallaby's multi-million dollar lawsuit over his sacking for anti-gay comments.

Folau's contract was terminated by Rugby Australia in May after he posted to social media that homosexuals, among others, would go to hell.

In a statement this afternoon, Rugby Australia said the parties had settled for a confidential amount. The 30-year-old claimed that he was unlawfully sacked because of his religion by Rugby Australia.

He had been set to demand Aus$14 million (US$9.5 million) in compensation, claiming he was unlawfully dismissed under legislation that bans sacking someone due to their religion.

A fund-raising drive set up by a Christian lobby group raised more than $AU2 million in donations to help his legal challenge.

Folau, a Christian, argued that the termination of his contract was a case of religious discrimination.

It came after Folau received a code of conduct warning over a similar post in 2018.

Folau's lawyer George Haros said on Monday they remained "hopeful to reach an amicable agreement".

"The Social Media Post reflected Mr Folau's genuinely held religious beliefs, and Mr Folau did not intend to harm or offend any person when he uploaded the Social Media Post", the statement begins.

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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 and that he shares Rugby Australia's commitment to inclusiveness and diversity.

Rugby Australia said in the statement that Folau's Instagram post was a reflection of his genuinely held religious beliefs.

'Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused, ' added the statement.

What happens next for Folau is not known.

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.

Even his conservative backers condemned the remarks, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who cited Folau's sacking when introducing laws created to protect religious freedom.

"I understand that not everyone shares my faith and some find it hard to reconcile with their own beliefs", Folau said in a video posted on his website before the meeting.

Rugby Australia said in June that key sponsors such as airline Qantas would likely have walked away from the sport if it had not taken a strong stance over his homophobic remarks.

"We now look forward to the federal government enacting the legislation necessary to further protect and strengthen these rights for all Australians".

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