Funds for Israel Folau's legal fight against Rugby Australia top $275000

An Instagram post from Israel Folau reading

Folau had been deemed to have made a high-level breach of Rugby Australia's Code of Conduct for anti-gay social media comments that also condemned drunks, fornicators and others to hell unless they repented.

"After the first initial incident previous year, I had a meeting with Raelene and we spoke about the potential effect it could have within the game". In two days the Australian has already raised nearly $500,000 ($446k) from over 5,500 backers on the fundraising site.

"I believe the termination of my contract is unlawful, which is why I have started legal proceedings against Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW", his GoFundMe page reads.

After the first incident in 2018, Folau said he was counselled by RA that while he could share his religious beliefs, he should "do it in a more respectful way".

Alan Jones: Was there anything in your contract that said you couldn't, outside the workplace, speak about your faith on social media?

He believes he has done that.

'There's things that the Bible speaks of that might go against things that people are doing, but from my perspective, I'm about sharing that from a place of love, and believing in the Bible people have the opportunity to hear that, and they do repent if they choose to, and turn away from that, and to be in heaven one day, which is what I long for people to choose to do'.

"Rugby Australia has an army of lawyers at their disposal and they have already said they will divert significant resources to fight me in court", Folau said.

Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs, for which Folau plays, said they would seek an explanation from Folau and denounced the player.

Super Rugby's most prolific try scorer also Friday launched a Twitter hashtag #standwithizzy, asking: "Do you believe in the right of Australians to practice their religion without fear or discrimination in the workplace?"

The 30-year-old is now challenging the decision in the High Court of Australia.

The flow of donations to Folau's Go Fund Me page spiked today from around $350 after midnight.

Specialist rugby writer Georgina Robinson pointed to a young rugby player who damaged his spinal cord in a playing accident, as an example of just one person many might consider more worthy of financial assistance. But some people had tipped in $500 and $200 each.

"I know I am putting myself on the line - this action will be very costly in terms of time, money and reputation - but I do not intend to stop now", Folau said.

Meanwhile, a Sydney man has launched a counter campaign seeking to raise funds for LGBTI youth from diverse backgrounds.

"And it'll send the message once and for all: If he wants to continue to use his profile and platform to preach hate, Israel Folau picked the wrong sport, because intolerance such as his will never be tolerated in rugby", he added.



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