Rugby Australia hits back after Israel Folau email following media leak
Last Updated: 08/06/19 4:34pm
Rugby Australia says it has acted with "professionalism" in the wake of Israel Folau sending an email to the organisation's directors, demanding answers on how details of his misconduct hearing were leaked to the media.
Folau was sacked by Australia and his club side Waratahs after posting on his Instagram account that "hell awaits" for "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters".
On Thursday, the 30-year-old announced he was taking legal action against Rugby Australia and his domestic team after his playing contract was terminated following the anti-LGBT social media comments on April 10.
The devout christian, who is maintaining his right to publicly express his religious views, accused Rugby Australia of failing "to maintain the integrity and process", and of "lies" and unfair treatment in his email to the body's bosses; which was found and published by the Australian Daily Telegraph.
In response the governing body has said: "Rugby Australia has acted with complete professionalism and integrity at all times through the process in which Mr Folau was found by an independent three-member tribunal panel to have made multiple, serious breaches of the Professional Players Code of Conduct.
"While we will continue to respond to any legal action as required and will continue to defend the values that underpin our game and the work done by the hard working volunteers, we will not engage in a running media commentary."
The former Australia international's legal team have filed an application to the Australian Fair Work Commission and are seeking a declaration that his employment was unlawfully terminated because of his religion; he hopes to seek damages somewhere in the region of $10m Australian dollars (£5.5m).
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Regarding the media leak, in his statement Folau said: "I would like an explanation as to why recent detailed media articles about me have revealed aspects of confidential sworn testimony and witness statements from the Rugby Australia Code of Conduct Tribunal.
"This is blatantly unfair. As you know, the tribunal hearing must be closed and private, and Rugby Australia was obliged to keep all information confidential."