And We're Off To Court, As Folau And Rugby Australia Fail To Reach Settlement
Israel Folau said he is disappointed a settlement wasn't reached with Rugby Australia at a conciliation meeting before the Fair Work Commission on Friday.
After a nearly four-hour meeting, Rugby Australia and the code's former star have failed to reach an agreement over the ex-Wallaby's sacking. The dispute is now destined for court.
Representatives from both parties met at the Fair Work Commission in Sydney on Friday for a mediation hearing -- the first formal step in the dispute resolution process.
"We are disappointed that we were unable to reach settlement with Rugby Australia today," one of Folau's lawyers told reporters.
"It appears as though that unless things change, we'll be heading to court."
Folau said he was "very disappointed with the outcome".
"But I'd like to thank all those that have supported me throughout this time. I will continue to stand up for the freedoms of all Australians," he said.
“Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union are incredibly disappointed that today’s Fair Work conciliation has been unsuccessful and did not reach a resolution," RA said in a statement.
"We remain confident in our processes and will continue to do what is required to defend the values that underpin our game."
Coming into today's meeting, Folau hoped RA would apologise for terminating his multi-million dollar contract over a social media post in April, and acknowledge his sacking was a mistake.
Rugby Australia tore up Folau's contract in May for breaching the professional players code of conduct, after the post in which the practising Christian said homosexuals, among others, were going to hell.
As Folau arrived outside the Fair Work Commission in a taxi, having come from his lawyer's office, 10 News First reporter Dan Sutton asked what he was hoping to get out of the mediation process.
"Hopefully an apology from Rugby Australia, that would be great," Folau responded.
It appears no such apology was forthcoming.
One matter which remains unresolved is the question of an alleged offer of money from Rugby Australia to Folau to take the original offensive post down.
Folau claimed on Thursday, in an interview on Sky News, that RA had offered him money to remove his social media post. He said since sharing the bible was part of his duty as a Christian, he did not agree to the offer.
But RA denied this claim, saying it had never offered Folau money to remove the posts.