Folau $8m settlement 'wrong', RA says
RUGBY Australia has shot down speculation it will pay ex-Wallaby star Israel Folau $8 million in damages as "wildly inaccurate".
Folau had been seeking $14 million in compensation after lodging an unfair dismissal claim against the sporting body following his sacking eight months ago.
It was reported he got $8 million, but RA chief Raelene Castle said that was wrong.
"Folau settlement numbers are confidential but numbers being speculated are wildly inaccurate," she tweeted on Thursday.
Folau was dumped over a controversial series of Instagram posts, one of which read: "Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves."
They were deemed homophobic and breaches of his RA contract.
Folau, who also played for the Waratahs, had argued he was sacked because of this Christian faith and denied breaching his contract.
The parties resolved their dispute through Federal Court ordered mediation that began with a marathon 12-hour session on Monday and wrapped up over the phone on Wednesday.
Both wished each other well for the future after signing a confidential settlement and apologised for any "hurt or harm" they caused each other.
Folau's case was being spun as a fight for religious freedom and the athlete on Wednesday backed federal government plans for a bill to protect such freedoms.
The legislation was to have been debated in Federal Parliament this year but has been delayed until 2020 after being criticised by religious leaders.
"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," Folau said in a video posted on his website with his wife Maria by his side.
"We now look forward to the federal government enacting the legislation necessary to further protect and strengthen these rights for all Australians."
Meanwhile, RA and NSW Rugby said the fact the case was settled did not "in any way" mean they agreed with the content of Folau's posts.
"Inclusiveness is one of Rugby's core values and it welcomes all people to the game, including all members of the LGBTI community," the joint statement said.
"Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused."