'Vindicated': Israel Folau speaks out after Rugby Australia settlement

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

Israel Folau has posted a video to YouTube in the hours after reaching a settlement with Rugby Australia over his unfair dismissal claim, saying he has been ‘vindicated’.

Standing alongside his wife Maria, the former Wallaby said they were looking forward to moving on from the months-long saga.

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Several days after filing a $14 million lawsuit against Rugby Australia, Folau’s former employer reached a confidential settlement with the ousted star.

In a statement issued by Rugby Australia on Wednesday afternoon, both sides apologised to each other for the sorry saga.

“We are extremely pleased with the settlement reached today,” Folau said in the YouTube video.

“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.”

Maria and Israel Folau have posted a video on YouTube, thanking supporters after reaching a settlement with Rugby Australia in the former Wallaby's unfair dismissal lawsuit. Picture: Israel Folau/YouTube

Folau went on to thank the Australian Christian Lobby’s Martin Iles, the managing director of the organisation which helped build a multi-million dollar legal fund after Folau was booted from crowdfunding website GoFundMe.

The 30-year-old indicated he would continue to support the federal government’s proposed religious freedom legislation.

“Maria and I would like to thank God for his guidance and strength,” he said.

“Thank you to our supporters for their thoughts and prayers, in particular our families, our congregation as well as Martin Iles and the Australian Christian Lobby.

“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.”

Folau, Rugby Australia ‘wish each other well’

Rugby Australia said in the statement that Folau’s Instagram post was a reflection of his genuinely held religious beliefs.

“The Social Media Post reflected Mr Folau’s genuinely held religious beliefs, and Mr Folau did not intend to harm or offend any person when he uploaded the social media post,” the statement read.

“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 he shares Rugby Australia’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity.

“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.

“Rugby Australia and Mr Folau wish each other well for the future.”

Folau is a hardline Christian who belongs to the Truth of Jesus Christ Church in Sydney, after leaving his previous mainstream churches.

The former rugby league and AFL player recently attracted criticism after he said the deadly bushfires were God's judgement for same-sex marriage and abortion laws.

WITH AAP