Rugby Australia and Israel Folau came to a settlement after the latter went to the Australian court claiming that he was sacked unlawfully. Wallaby Israel Folau filed a lawsuit against Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby for $14 million which he later agreed to withdraw. After 14 hours of negotiations, Rugby Australia issued a formal apology to Folau and his family for causing any hurt or harm in the process.
The whole saga reportedly started in May after Folau took to his official social media handle to post an anti-gay message. Folau, a firm Christian believer stated "hell awaits" gay people following which Rugby Australia sacked the fullback player. Folau decided to sue Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby for breaching its $4 million contract from 2019 to 2022. Folau sought a whopping $14 million in damages from Rugby Australia.
Folau insisted that he was exercising his right to free speech and was practising his religious freedom. Folau accused Rugby Australia of religious discrimination and claimed that he lost corporate sponsorship deals following his sacking.
Folau faced backlash for his anti-gay and anti-transgender comments but was also supported by Christian lobby groups. Folau started a fundraising campaign to support his legal battle against Rugby Australia and raised around $2 million. Earlier, his fundraising campaign hit a roadblock after the host platform decided to shutdown his effort citing that the Waratahs player's cause promoted discrimination.
Now that the expensive dispute has ended, Rugby Australia released a statement on its website that read, "Rugby Australia, NSW Rugby, and Israel Folau have today settled their legal dispute following the dismissal of Israel Folau after he posted a religious message on social media (the Social Media Post)".
"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. 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", the statement added.