‘Sorry’ rugby chiefs pay Israel Folau millions

‘Sorry’ rugby chiefs pay Israel Folau millions, by Remy Varga.

The banished Wallaby superstar, with wife Maria by his side, spoke of his happiness on Wednesday at reaching a confidential settlement with Rugby Australia, ending a $14m legal battle that has embarrassed the sporting body.

The Australian understands Rugby Australia has agreed to compensate Folau several million dollars under the terms of the settlement. ..

The code sacked the deeply ­religious Wallaby for making ­social media posts that said homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators and drunkards were going to hell.

Janet Albechtsen:

A team of the sassiest spin doctors can’t help Rugby Australia. They lost on Wednesday. Big time. …

Put it this way. Earlier this year, Israel Folau, who was sacked by RA for posting on social media his religious beliefs, said: “First and foremost I am hoping for an apology from RA and an acknowledgment that even if they disagree with my views, I should be free to peacefully express my religious beliefs without fear of retribution or exclusion.”

Folau’s solicitor, George Haros, said an apology would “come a long way to resolving the dispute”.

That was in August. Castle responded by saying RA would not apologise to Folau.

Winners are grinners

On Wednesday afternoon, following marathon mediation negotiations, RA wholeheartedly apologised to Folau. In fact, the humiliating settlement overseen by Castle saw RA “acknowledge and apologise for any hurt or harm caused” to both Israel and his wife, Maria. It reads like a mea culpa from RA for being part of the pile-on that Maria endured when she publicly supported her husband during this battle. …

Though Wednesday’s confidential settlement is a terrific win for Folau, some bigger questions remain unanswered in strict legal terms. A legal determination is still needed so that workers in this country know if they can be terminated, more or less at will, for expressing their religious beliefs under vaguely drafted, and subjectively interpreted, codes of conduct.