Why Rugby Australia settled with Folau
Outgoing Rugby Australia chairman Cameron Clyne has dismissed accusations the Israel Folau settlement will have any impact on grassroots rugby.
Rugby Australia and Israel Folau reached an out-of-court settlement this week after months of legal proceedings. While the payout amount has not been confirmed, it is predicted to be in the millions.
51-year-old Clyne, who previously served as CEO of the National Australia Bank Group, suggested an early settlement was the best financial option for RA by avoiding additional legal fees.
Speaking to Ben Fordham on 2GB, Clyne assured listeners Folau's payout would not come at the detriment of Australian community rugby.
"This (settlement) will not have one impact on community rugby - we're emphatic about that," Clyne said.
"We did not want to have a situation where by prolonging this case and paying legal fees we were going to damage community rugby.
"We got to a number with Israel Folau's side where it was cheaper for us to settle than to continue to run the case. It is not our job to take money away from community rugby to run the case."
Speculation about the payout amount has grown since Wednesday's settlement, The Daily Telegraph reporting $8 million. However, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle described the reports as "wildly inaccurate".
Clyne similarly refused to comment on the exact number, but said the reported sums were "wildly off the mark".
"I'm not giving you the numbers. The only reason Raelene went out yesterday was because of the irresponsible speculation which was wildly off the mark," Clyne said.
"But as I said, it will not have an impact on our ability to fund community rugby."
Clyne announced last month he would not seek re-election after presiding over a tumultuous era for the game.
CASTLE IN HOT WATER AFTER FOLAU SAGA
Cameron Clyne rubbished claims that Raelene Castle's position as Rugby Australia CEO was in jeopardy after the eight-month Folau saga.
Speaking on 2GB Friday afternoon, Broadcaster James Willis suggested Castle had lost support from the RA Board and is at high risk of losing her role.
Ben Fordham agreed with Willis, claiming "Raelene Castle does not have the unanimous support of the board at Rugby Australia".
However, Clyne was quick to refute the "gobsmacking" rumours, asserting he was "100% confident" the RA Board would not sack Castle.
"I was staggered at the number of untruths that James (Willis) just unleashed. It just was gobsmacking … one fabrication after another," Clyne said.
"The board meeting on Monday is a regularly scheduled board meeting. Raelene's future is not on the agenda.
"The Rugby Australia Board and the NSW Board were kept fully-informed and were both unanimously supportive of the settlement discussions."
Cameron Clyne: "Raelene’s future is not on the agenda.”— 2GB 873 (@2GB873) December 6, 2019
Ben Fordham: “I can tell you Raelene Castle does not have the unanimous support of the board at Rugby Australia.”https://t.co/oV4zKDl5no
Widespread media reports and commentary on Thursday morning declared Castle's position chief executive untenable, many calling for her to fall on her sword and resign.
MULTI-MILLION BROADCAST DEAL REJECTED
Rugby Australia has rejected a multi-million deal with long-time broadcaster Foxtel, which could further detriment the struggling sporting code, as reported in The Daily Telegraph.
Raelene Castle reportedly turned down a multi-year deal with Foxtel in order to test the market for a better offer.
After Ben Fordham claimed Castle "does not have the support of Foxtel" from the failed negotiations, Cameron Clyne again came to her defence, labelling the rumoured spat "nonsense".
"That is absolutely nonsense and that is not the feedback we've had," Clyne said.
"It's our obligation to try and get the right outcome for the game and look at all the options that are available."
It was reported Castle wanted about $100 million more than Foxtel offered for the next few years.