Folau files new $14m compo claim
ISRAEL Folau is now seeking $14 million from Rugby Australia, and claims he could have captained the Wallabies.
The former rugby star lodged an amended statement of claim in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne this morning, increasing his demands from $10 million to $14 million over the termination of his contract earlier this year.
Folau said he had lost $4.2 million from his base contract from 2019-21, as well as additional Test match payments and sponsorship, and estimated he would have earned up to $1.5 million a year for the three years after that contract expired with overseas clubs.
He then claims ongoing earnings after retirement for "possible captainship of a trophy-winning Wallabies team at an approximate rate of $30,000 to $50,000 per annum for between 15 to 25 years (approx., $450,000 to $1,250,000)."
Folau, who was sacked by RA over inflammatory social media posts claiming homosexuals are destined for Hell, earned the ire of the nation last week when he suggested the deadly bushfires across Australia were punishment by God against laws allowing same-sex marriage and gender choice.
In his amended claim, Folau also says a Wallabies teammate told coach Michael Cheika and RA chief executive Raelene Castle that his sacking would divide the team and offend Christian Polynesian players.
Folau's lawyers are in a discovery hearing at the Melbourne court this morning, with RA lawyers dialing in on a video call from Sydney. Folau's camp is trying to obtain key documents they believe will bolster their case.
They say RA breached its obligations by "failing to bring all material evidentiary matters to the attention of the Tribunal, including the fact that a senior player had told the CEO of Rugby Australia ("Ms Castle") and the coach of the Wallabies ("Mr Cheika") that the termination of Mr Folau was likely to cause division amongst the Wallabies and that Christian Polynesians in the team were offended by the actions of Rugby Australia (and the Waratahs), and then proceeding to terminate Mr Folau in circumstances where that material had not been brought to the attention of the Tribunal."
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Folau told the code of conduct hearing in May that he had significant support from teammates, the amended statement says.
"During the hearing before the Tribunal, Mr Folau revealed to the Tribunal that at least 15 teammates and members of coaching staff had either provided him with messages of support and/or urged for his return to the playing field and that he had been informed by his teammates and management that there would be no disharmony or impact on team cohesion if he were to return to the game."
Folau claim also says one of the three panelists who heard his code of conduct hearing, Kate Eastman SC, tilted the case against him because she'd previously worked for LGBTQI groups.