Netball Australia weighs into Folau GoFundMe controversy

Maria Folau has pledged support for her husband Israel's controversial GoFundMe page, set up in...
Maria Folau has pledged support for her husband Israel's controversial GoFundMe page, set up in response to his dismissal by Rugby Australia for homophobic social media posts. Photo: Getty Images
Netball Australia have released a statement saying they don't endorse Maria Folau's decision to endorse husband Israel's GoFundMe page in his legal fight against Rugby Australia.

A GoFundMe page established by the ex-Wallaby to raise funds for legal costs in his bid for reinstatement had passed A$642,570 by 3.30pm on Sunday. About 8500 people have donated.

The Silver Ferns international reposted a link to the GoFundMe page on her Instagram account.

"Netball Australia and Suncorp Super Netball is committed to providing welcoming, inclusive and supportive places for all people to play and watch our great game.

"We are aware that Adelaide Thunderbirds' athlete Maria Folau re-posted her husband's GoFundMe page details via social media. There is no action required by the league," the statement said.

"We will continue to support Maria as a valued member of the Thunderbirds and the Suncorp Super Netball league."

Liz Ellis, Australia's most capped netballer, slammed the diplomatic statements of both governing bodies as "not good enough" and called them out for themselves not slamming homophobia in an explosive Twitter tirade.

"Yeah nah not good enough," Ellis tweeted.

"How about this: There is no room for homophobia in our game. Anyone who is seen to support or endorse homophobia is not welcome. As much as I love watching @MariaFolau play netball I do not want my sport endorsing the views of her husband."

A second statement by the CEO of Netball South Australia Bronwyn Klei said Folau hadn't broken any social media rules within her contract.

"First and foremost, I want to be very clear that Netball South Australia is fiercely determined to provide an inclusive environment that allows anyone to participate in the great game of netball regardless of gender, belief, age race or sexual orientation.

"We also believe in fairness and perspective," Klei said.

"Like millions of other people across Australia, Maria Folau uses her personal social media platform to share her life and beliefs with her family, friends and fans. This week, she shared her husband's controversial Go-Fund-Me post.

"While Netball SA is no way endorses the reposting, we do not believe Maria has contravened our social media policy."


What's it got to do with Netball Australia? Ms Folau may play netball, but they don't own her — what she says in support (or otherwise) of her husband in her own time is her own business, regardless of whether it's upsetting, offensive, or just plain barking.

Still, at least they seem less Orwellian than their rugby counterparts.


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