SYDNEY, Money was flowing in Friday for rugby star
Israel Folau after he launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay his legal fees
in a battle with Rugby Australia over his sacking for homophobic comments.
Folau, a devout Christian, was fired last month after a Rugby Australia
tribunal found him guilty of highlevel misconduct for posting on social
media that hell awaits gay people and others he considers sinners.
He has since taken the divisive issue to Australia's employment watchdog
the Fair Work Commission, asserting that he simply posted a message from the
His case reportedly involves claims of breach of contract and unlawful
termination under the Fair Work Act, which protects employees from being
sacked because of their religion.
But taking on Rugby Australia in the courts will not be cheap and the 30
yearold is asking supporters for help to raise Aus$3 million (US$2 million).
I believe the termination of my contract is unlawful, which is why I have
started legal proceedings against Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW, he said in
a message on the GoFundMe site Friday.
In response, Rugby Australia have already said that they will 'divert
significant resources' to fight me in court.
I would be very grateful for your support. I have the fight of my life on
my hands and every little bit will help, he added.
So far, more than 2,300 people have pledged over Aus$215,000.
Folau revealed he had already spent Aus$100,000 of his own money dealing
with the issue and suggested the case could take years to resolve if it ends
up in the High Court.
The money I am asking for is solely to fund the rest of my action in
court, he said.
The fullback, Super Rugby's most prolific try scorer, was on a fouryear
contract worth more than Aus$1.0 million annually when he was sacked.
Earlier this month, the Sydney Morning Herald said he was seeking Aus$10
million in his claim, including lost sponsorship and marketing opportunities,
a sum it said could bankrupt Rugby Australia if they lose the case.
Rugby Australia, which had no immediate comment on the funding campaign,
insist his axing was purely a breach of contract issue after it said he
agreed not to disparage anyone based on sexual grounds.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)