The dispute between Rugby Australia and Israel Folou took an incredible turn today after Falou's unfair dismissal case against Rugby Australia was settled, with Rugby Australia apologising to Falou and his wife.
Folou's contract with Rugby Australia was terminated earlier this year when he posted on Instagram that 'hell awaits' gay people. Falou had been seeking 14 million Australian dollars in compensation for unfair dismissal. The settlement was reached for a confidential sum.
A joint statement was issued by both parties today:
"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."
“Inclusiveness is one of rugby’s core values and it welcomes all people to the game, including all members of the LGBTI community,” the statement continued.
“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.”
Folou thanked God, welcomed the decision and said he'd been vindicated.
"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,”
“We started this journey on behalf of all people of faith, to protect their rights of freedom of speech and religion.
“We now look forward to the federal government enacting the legislation necessary to further protect and strengthen these rights for all Australians.”
Equality Australia welcomed the decision saying it hopes the decision ends a “divisive and hurtful period for LGBTIQ+ people in rugby, in sport and more generally."