Rugby CEO Says Settlement With Folau Was 'Commercial Decision'
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle has said a settlement deal with Israel Folau was a "commercial decision" and the amount paid would remain confidential.
RA and Folau announced they had settled their compensation case on Wednesday, following the sacking of the former Wallabies player for controversial social media posts back in May.
In a press conference on Thursday, Castle said the move to settle with Folau was a "commercial decision" for RA.
"In these types of disputes, what you do try and find is a situation that gives, certainly Rugby Australia, some certainty. This settlement gives us that," Castle said.
"It also ensured that we were in a situation that the cost to Rugby Australia was less than seeing a trial through to the end of February."
Castle said feedback from the rugby community showed they also wanted the case finished with as quickly as possible.
"They want to go in to the New Year knowing they can go in with a clean slate and start talking about rugby again instead of talking about this case," she said.
Castle maintained RA had made the "right decision" in calling out Folau's social media posts, where he claimed "hell awaits" for "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators" and others.
"We stick to our values that inclusivity is absolutely core to the key of rugby," she said.
Folau had made a claim for $14 million in compensation and lost earnings from RA, however the amount settled has remained confidential.
Prior to the press conference on Thursday morning, Castle took to Twitter to dismiss rumours surrounding the amount of money RA and Folau had settled on.
"Folau settlement numbers are confidential but numbers being speculated are wildly inaccurate," she said.
After the settlement agreement on Wednesday, RA released a statement apologising for "any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus" but maintained it did not agree with Folau's social media posts.
"Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby do not in any way agree with the content of the Social Media Post. Inclusiveness is one of Rugby’s core values and it welcomes all people to the game, including all members of the LGBTI community," RA said.
"While it was not Rugby Australia’s intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus.
"Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused."
Folau and his wife, Maria, posted a video on social media claiming they had been "vindicated" by the settlement.
"With today's acknowledgement and apology by Rugby Australia, we have been vindicated and can now move on with our lives to focus on our faith and our family," Folau said.
"We now look forward to the federal government enacting the legislation necessary to further protect and strengthen these rights for all Australians."