Sacked rugby player Israel Folau raises €146,804 in 12 hours for court battle

Australia's Israel Folau runs in November 2018 match
Australia's Israel Folau runs in November 2018 match Copyright REUTERS/Toby Melville
By Sinead Barry with Reuters
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Australian former professional rugby player Israel Folau is seeking to raise 3 million Australian dollars (€1.8 million) to fund legal action against Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs for his sacking last month.

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Australian former professional rugby player Israel Folau is seeking to raise 3 million Australian dollars (€1.8 million) to fund legal action against Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs for his sacking last month.

Folau's contract with Rugby Australia was terminated last month after he posted on social media saying "hell awaits" gay people.

The organisation said he breached a code of conduct, but the 30-year-old star full-back argued that his firing was unlawful and an act of religious discrimination.

The former player stood by his comments on social media, saying that sharing the Bible's message  "is an act of love and compassion."

Within 12 hours of Folau's GoFundMe page going live, over 240,000 Australian dollars (€146,804) was donated by 2,500 donors.

The former player claimed that Rugby Australia was committed to diverting "significant resources" to the court battle. He said it is likely that such a case could go to the High Court of Australia.

Folau added that legal expenses to fight his termination were costly, saying: "My wife Maria and I have already spent over $100,000 of our own money" fighting the internal tribunal processes.

While playing, Folau was one of the highest paid players in the country, with a contract worth 5 million Australian dollars (€3,058,537).

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