Rugby Australia announced it has reached a settlement with Israel Folau, and apologised ‘for any hurt or harm’ it caused the former star

Israel Folau. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
  • Rugby Australia, NSW Rugby and pro rugby player Israel Folau have ended their legal dispute.
  • Folau was sacked following a post he made on Instagram which claimed that “hell awaits” those he described as “drunks, homosexuals and adulterers”, among others, and he lodged legal proceedings against Rugby Australia.
  • The terms of the settlement, however, are confidential.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The legal saga between Israel Folau and Rugby Australia has come to an end.

On Wednesday, Rugby Australia, NSW Rugby and professional rugby player Israel Folau settled their legal dispute after Folau was sacked for a post he made on Instagram.

Folau’s post, which was published in April, said “hell awaits” those he described as “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers and liars”, among others. It also called on them to “repent”.

According to the Daily Telegraph, it is believed that Folau will receive an $8 million payout, although no official amount has been disclosed. The report added it wasn’t clear how much of the money will be used to pay Folau’s legal fees.

Speaking ahead of a press conference, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle described the numbers being reported on in the media as “wildly inaccurate,” without specifying which report she was referring to.

Folau released a video statement together with his wife, where he said, “We are extremely pleased with the settlement reached today. With today’s acknowledgement and apology by Rugby Australia, we have been vindicated and can now move on with our lives to focus on our faith and our family.”

In a joint statement released on Wednesday, the rugby bodies and Folau said the post “reflected Mr Folau’s genuinely held religious beliefs”.

“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.”

Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby said they don’t agree with anything in the Instagram post.

“Inclusiveness is one of Rugby’s core values and it welcomes all people to the game, including all members of the LGBTI community,” the bodies said.

And both Folau and the sporting bodies extended apologies to one another.

“While it was not Rugby Australia’s intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus. Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused.”

The terms of the settlement, however, are confidential.

Folau was dropped by Rugby Australia on May 17, after Rugby Australia claimed he breached the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct. He attempted to settle the dispute through the Fair Work Commission but when that failed, Folau begun legal action against Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs.

He also launched a GoFundMe Page to help pay for his legal costs but it was shut down by the crowdfunding site as it violated the company’s terms of service. Nonetheless, The Australian Christian Lobby set up a donation page in its place.

Folau’s legal battle was further thrust into the spotlight when he amended his Statement of Claim to seek $14 million in loss and damages from Rugby Australia.

Now the dispute is settled, we’ll just have to see what lies ahead for Folau.

Business Insider Australia has reached out to Rugby Australia for comment.