Former Wallabies star Israel Folau settles dispute with Rugby Australia

Israel Folau and Rugby Australia reach settlement in long running dispute

Camera IconIsrael Folau (pictured) and Australia have settled their dispute over the sacking of the former Wallaby due to his controversial social media posts.

RA said it had not meant to hurt the player's feelings, but "acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus".

Rugby Australia had asked the national star to remove the posts, and when he refused, his contract was terminated.

Folau, the 30-year-old son of a pastor, admitted his post caused harm but maintained he would put up "whatever he likes" on social media and "did not intend to harm or offend any person", according to the Guardian.

"The terms are confidential but what you do try and find is a situation that gives RA some certainty and this settlement gives us that and also ensured that cost to RA was less than seeing a trial through to the end of February", she said.

Folau was sacked after warning gay people that "hell awaits" them on social media, and has since doubled down on his anti-LGBT beliefs, claiming that bushfires devastating Australia are "God's judgment" for same-sex marriage.

In a joint statement Rugby Australia, NSW Rugby and Folau acknowledged the harm the scandal has done. "Inclusiveness is one of Rugby's core values and it welcomes all people to the game, including all members of the LGBTI community", the rugby statement read.

RA argued the homophobic post, Folau's second in two years, breached its code of conduct.

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Rugby Australia said in the statement that Folau's Instagram post was a reflection of his genuinely held religious beliefs.

Folau had claimed his religious freedom was at stake, winning backing from prominent conservatives and the Australian Christian Lobby, which raised more than Aus$2 million in just two days to help pay his legal fees.

Folau also spoke out about his decision via a video posted on YouTube in which he confirmed the legal action and thanked Australians for their support in his continued fight against Rugby Australia.

In a statement released by Rugby Australia, the organisation "acknowledges and apologises" for "any hurt or harm caused" to their former player.

Even his conservative backers condemned the remarks, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who cited Folau's sacking when introducing laws created to protect religious freedom.

By nature of the fact that the settlement was confidential, we will not know how much Folau was paid out.

"We now look forward to the federal government enacting the legislation necessary to further protect and strengthen these rights for all Australians".

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