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UPDATE: Rugby Australia issues statement on Israel Folau article

Israel Folau is posing problems for Rugby AU, and they aren't going away. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
17th April, 2018
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Israel Folau has revealed he offered to walk away from his Rugby Australia contract in the wake of his controversial comments on homosexuality and that tension remains with the game’s administration over the issue.

The Wallabies fullback wrote a lengthy piece on sports website Players Voice on Monday night, addressing the fallout from his Instagram message and reiterating his deep religious convictions.

Folau said that in a meeting last week with RA chief executive Raelene Castle and Waratahs CEO Andrew Hore, he gave his bosses the option to sack him.

“I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable – that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn’t be worked through – I would walk away from my contract, immediately,” Folau wrote.

Folau, who is off contract at the end of this season, rubbished claims that the inflammatory social media comments was designed to ensure he got a release from RA so he could move back to rugby league.

“This is not about money or bargaining power or contracts. It’s about what I believe in and never compromising that, because my faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be,” he said.

But before Castle attempts to negotiate a new deal for Australia’s most potent attacker before next year’s World Cup in Japan, she will need to resolve the friction Folau still feels remains over the social media saga.

“I felt Raelene misrepresented my position and my comments, and did so to appease other people, which is an issue I need to discuss with her and others at Rugby Australia,” wrote Folau.

Rugby Australia statement:

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Rugby Australia will not sanction Israel Folau for his comment posted on a social media platform on April 4.

Referring to an article written by Folau and published online overnight, Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said: “In his article, Israel clearly articulated his religious beliefs and why his faith is important to him and has provided context behind his social media comment.

“In his own words, Israel said that he did not intend to upset people intentionally or bring hurt to the game. We accept Israel’s position.

“Rugby Australia will use this experience as an opportunity to remind all employees of their obligation to use social media in a respectful way.”