The Saga between former Australian International star Israel Folau and Rugby Australia has taken another twist after the Wallabies fullback as started legal action actions the Sports national governing body and his former club side Waratah’s following their decision to terminate his contracts over anti- Gay comments, he made on social media earlier this year.
Folau had his lucrative four year deal torn up after an independent review backed up Rugby Australia’s position over comments made on April 10th this year that insinuated that;
“hell awaits” for “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters”.
Which the RA decided was a serious breach of the players code of conduct and therefore warranted dismissal over a fine or warning, especially since the same player had been warned over a similar social media post twelve months earlier.
Folau who is a dual code international after starting his career in the NRL staring for Brisbane Bronco’s and Melbourne Storm before moving to Aussie Rules football and then to Rugby Union where he had played for the Wallabies over 70 times and was considered one of their star attacking weapons as they prepared for this years World Cup.
His legal team have confirmed they have filed an application to the Australian Fair Work Commission and are seeking a declaration his employment was unlawfully terminated because of his religion.
On announcing his legal protest Falou said;
“I will forever be grateful and proud to have played the sport I love for our nation.
“Ours is an amazing country built on important principles, including freedom of religion. A nation made up of so many different faiths and cultural backgrounds will never be truly rich unless this freedom applies to all of us.
“The messages of support we have received over these difficult few weeks have made me realise there are many Australians who feel their fundamental rights are being steadily eroded. “No Australian of any faith should be fired for practising their religion.”
This again prompted Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union to issue a statement of their own defending their decision and postion as they said;
“Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union made the decision to pursue the termination of Israel Folau's contract because of a serious breach of the Professional Players Code of Conduct.”
“This is an issue of an employee and his obligations to his employers within the contract that he signed. He was bound by a Code of Conduct for all professional players in Australia that spells out clear guidelines and obligations regarding player behaviour, including respectful use of social media.
“An independent panel, having sat for 22 hours and heard testimony from several witnesses and reviewed over 1000 pages of evidence, determined that Israel's conduct constituted a high-level breach of the Code of Conduct and
ordered termination of his playing contract.
“It is important to make clear that Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby did not choose to be in a position where they are forced to divert significant resources to defend the ongoing legal action taken by Israel, but his action leaves the game with no choice.
“As a sport that is proud of the values of inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork that underpin our game globally and our Code of Conduct, we will defend those values and the right for all people to feel safe and welcome in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion or sexuality.
“We are grateful for the support from so many people from within our rugby community, including the volunteers who are the guardians of the game's values, from other sports and from the wider community here and around the world, who
have supported our stance.
“We will remain focused on getting on with the job of building our game, supporting our teams, encouraging more people to play rugby and upholding the values that generations of Wallabies and Waratahs have represented with pride.”
Whilst this is ongoing Falou is believed to be looking at other options regarding his playing career with some big names in the NRL asking their governing body to consider his return despite them already stating they would back their Union counterparts. His other option would be to take his talents to the Northern Hemisphere with Rugby Union or Super League both variable options depending on his wage demands.
- Folau saga continues as former Wallbies star looks to Fedral court!
- Folau “offically” sacked by Rugby Australia after comments made on social media
- Falou offically found guilty of breaching the Players code of Conduct!
- Wallabies Star to have is contract terminated following Racists and homophobic comments on Social media!
- Disgraced Star could still get paid!