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Revealed: Folau seeks $3 million from donors for fight against Rugby Australia

Sacked Wallabies star Israel Folau has made a stunning plea for financial help with his legal fight against Rugby Australia, setting up his own GoFundMe page in the hope of receiving $3 million in donations.

Folaus multi-million dollar contract was terminated last month by RA after the 30-year-old posted a photo to Instagram in April that said homosexuals were destined for hell unless they repented their sins.

Israel Folau has appeared in a video asking for people to donate money as he begins his legal fight against Rugby Australia.

Israel Folau has appeared in a video asking for people to donate money as he begins his legal fight against Rugby Australia. Credit:Youtube

Folau has launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission and if a deal is not struck with RA, he has confirmed his intention to take the matter to the High Court.

The Herald can reveal Folau will on Friday launch a GoFundMe page where individuals can donate small or large sums to money that will help subsidise the costs associated with fighting the matter in the courts. He says he has already spent $100,000 of his own money “fighting for what is right”.

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Folau is seeking a pay-out of his contract, which was set to expire in 2022, as well as other financial damages that may come about as a result of his sacking.

Last year the 73-Test star signed a four-year deal with RA worth an estimated $5 million and has been one of Australian rugby's highest paid players since he crossed codes in 2013.

“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.

“I would be very grateful for your support. Could you make a donation, within your capacity to give, in order to support my action? I have the fight of my life on my hands and every little bit will help.

“Even if I win, Rugby Australia can appeal. There is every chance that a prominent test case like this could take years and eventually end up in the High Court of Australia.

“My wife Maria and I have already spent over $100,000 of our own money, and that was just to try and deal with Rugby Australias internal tribunal processes. The money I am asking for is to fund the rest of my action in court.

A screenshot of Israel Folau's GoFundMe page.

A screenshot of Israel Folau's GoFundMe page. Credit:GoFundMe

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

In a video attached to the GoFundMe page, Folau further outlined why he was continuing his fight for “religious freedom” and the impact of his sacking.

“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. “The cost to me and my family of continuing my legal action against Rugby Australia is expected to be significant.

“Since my contract was terminated I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the support received from family, friends, fans and the public. Even people who dont share my beliefs have defended my right to uphold and express them.

“They made me realise Im not just fighting for my future and my family; Im fighting for what is right. But I cant do it alone.”

Israel Folau after his code of conduct hearing.

Israel Folau after his code of conduct hearing. Credit:AAP

Folaus legal team will next Friday begin conciliation with RA and the case will be heard before the Fair Work Commission.

If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, the matter is likely to end up in the Federal Court.

The Herald can also reveal a website – israelfolau.com.au – has also been set up. Donors can go via that portal to send their money to Folau as well as have a look at what, according to the website, "respected commentators have written recently about Israel's treatment by his former employers".

It is a remarkable change of heart to the column Folau penned on the Players Voice website last April after he posted a similar message to social media outlining his religious views.

"After wed all talked, I told [RA chief executive] Raelene [Castle] if she felt the situation had become untenable – that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldnt be worked through – I would walk away from my contract, immediately," Folau wrote.

Regardless of what happens from now, Folaus future in Australian rugby is as good as over and it is a big blow for the Wallabies ahead of the Rugby World Cup in September.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika spoke last week for the first time since his fullbacks sacking.

“I've had a good relationship with Israel for a long time now,” Cheika said. “The only thing for me is the team has to concentrate on the game. Focus has to be on winning the next game or the World Cup or the Bledisloe Cup.

“It is unfortunate how it ended up, but something had to give in that situation."

Israel Folau's full GoFundMe message:

Introduction

My name is Israel Folau and, until recently, playing Rugby was my livelihood.

I have had theRead More – Source

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