Rugby
ESPN staff 77d

Israel Folau, Rugby Australia reach confidential settlement

Israel Folau and Rugby Australia [RA] have ended the biggest feud in Australian sport, after the two parties reach a confidential settlement following the former Wallabies star's social media posts and his subsequent sacking.

A Rugby Australia statement on Wednesday afternoon said both parties acknowledged the harm they had caused one another and had apologised as a result.

"Rugby Australia, NSW Rugby and Israel Folau have today settled their legal dispute following the dismissal of Israel Folau after he posted a religious message on social media (the Social Media Post)," the statement read.

"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. 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 that he shares Rugby Australia's commitment to inclusiveness and diversity.

"Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby do not in any way agree with the content of the Social Media Post. Inclusiveness is one of Rugby's core values and it welcomes all people to the game, including all members of the LGBTI community. While it was not Rugby Australia's intention, 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. The Parties do not intend to comment further on the terms of their settlement as it is confidential."

Folau was earlier this year sacked after fronting an RA Code of Conduct hearing following social media posts that proclaimed homosexuals, drunks and adulterers, among others, were bound for hell.

The twin posts came after the code-hopper had been warned about his social media use during the 2018 season.

Just a couple of weeks ago Folau used a sermon at his father's Truth of Jesus Christ Church in western Sydney to link the bushfires and drought currently ravaging parts of eastern Australia to the nation's legalising of same-sex marriage in 2018 and abortion.

For their part, Rugby Australia will be thrilled the entire episode is over after a tumultuous year that saw the Wallabies exit the Rugby World Cup at the quarterfinals, a result that brought down the curtain on Michael Cheika's career as national coach.

With Dave Rennie recently announced as Cheika's successor and the Folau episode now behind them, RA will be hoping 2020 brings about a change in the code's fortunes Down Under.

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