Rugby Australia respond to Folau's explosive letter

The 30-year-old fullback had his lucrative $4 million contract terminated last month. Photo:...
The 30-year-old fullback had his lucrative $4 million contract terminated last month. Photo: Getty Images

Rugby Australia have hit back at defiant former Wallabies star Israel Folau.

Folau penned a scathing letter yesterday to Rugby Australia demanding answers as to how confidential information from his code of conduct hearing was "leaked" to the media.

The 30-year-old fullback had his lucrative $4 million contract terminated last month after being found guilty of a high-level breach of the organisation's code of conduct for his homophobic social media posts.

Folau decided not to appeal through RA's internal channels, saying that he feared he would receive unfair treatment during the process.

He has, however, launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission against RA and the Waratahs seeking damages - reportedly to the tune of $10 million.

In the letter, Folau accuses RA - including Kiwi chief executive Raelene Castle - of dishonesty and demands an explanation as to how confidential information became public.

"I would like an explanation as to why recent detailed media articles about me have revealed aspects of confidential sworn testimony and witness statements from the Rugby Australia Code of Conduct Tribunal.

"This is blatantly unfair. As you know, the Tribunal hearing must be closed and private, and Rugby Australia was obliged to keep all information confidential," Folau wrote.

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle. Photo: Getty Images
Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle. Photo: Getty Images

Rugby Australia has since issued a statement in response, defending the way in which they managed the tribunal and outlining the "disappointing" impact Folau's ongoing actions were having on the game.

"While we accept that a PR firm has been engaged to coordinate a media campaign to promote the legal action taken against Rugby Australia, we are disappointed that this campaign is impacting on the work done by the thousands of volunteers who are delivering great experiences for the Rugby community," the statement read.

"Rugby Australia has acted with complete professionalism and integrity at all times through the process in which Mr Folau was found by an independent three-member tribunal panel to have made multiple, serious breaches of the Professional Players Code of Conduct.

"While we will continue to respond to any legal action as required and will continue to defend the values that underpin our game and the work done by the hard working volunteers, we will not engage in a running media commentary."

Meanwhile, Folau insisted the termination of his contract constitutes discrimination on the grounds of his religious beliefs.

"I know this may be difficult for some to understand, but I am nothing if I am unable to share the word of the Bible with my fellow man.

"And yet the position of Rugby Australia is that I must be banned for life for doing so.

"Finally, as I believe your termination of my employment was unlawful, I wanted to inform you that have made an application to the Fair Work Commission in the hope that this injustice may be reversed."

On Thursday, Folau's younger brother John was granted immediate release by the Waratahs after requesting to leave in protest over the sacking of the 62-test Wallabies veteran.

John Folau (24) has struggled with "divided loyalties", according to the team.

He has not played a game for the Waratahs since joining the team just before the start of the season and has been on leave for weeks.

 

Comments

No Israel your contract wasn't terminated because of your religious beliefs, it was terminated because you put your religious views on social media & then refused to take them down.
Most religious people don't rub their views in other people's faces, as you have done. This is where you have stepped over the line. Rugby Australia made the correct decision by terminating your contract based on your offensive actions, not on your religious choices or views.

 

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