Sacked former Wallabies full-back Israel Folau has been accused of greed after launching an online fundraising drive for his legal action against Rugby Australia.
Folau’s 4million Australian dollars (£2.2million) contract was terminated after he posted on social media that all homosexuals would go to hell before an independent panel upheld that decision.
The 30-year-old has now taken his case to the Fair Work Commission and has set up a GoFundMe page asking for AusD3m (£1.6m) for his legal battle.
A number of former Wallabies reacted angrily on social media, however, with ex-Australia wing Drew Mitchell heavily critical and referencing the many seriously ill people using GoFundMe to foot medical bills.
Mitchell tweeted: “You are in a fight that you chose to be in after you broke the terms of your contract, the kids below are in a fight they never wanted to be in and yet you think you deserve donations more than they do? It’s no longer about religion, it’s about you and your greed.”
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Folau would have proved one of Australia’s top draws at the autumn’s World Cup in Japan, but his 73-Test Wallabies career is in tatters.
Former Wallabies centre Morgan Turinui posted: “Whichever side you fall on the Izzy Folau debate, surely we can all see the ignominy of this.”
Folau has already received more than AusD 300,000 (£164,000) in donations to the website, on which he added a short statement.
“My faith is the most important thing in my life,” read Folau’s statement.
“I try to live my life according to the Bible and I believe it is my duty to share the word of the Bible.
“Earlier this year, I uploaded some messages from the Bible on my Instagram page. I believe that sharing the Bible is an act of love and compassion.
“Indeed, what makes our country so wonderful is that we have such a diverse community made up of so many different cultures and values.
“But my faith defines me as a person. I do not believe that it is fair or right that I be punished for my religious beliefs.
“Rugby Australia have already said that they will divert significant resources to fight me in court. Even if I win, Rugby Australia can appeal.
“My wife Maria and I have already spent over AusD 100,000 (£55,000) of our own money, and that was just to try and deal with Rugby Australia’s internal tribunal processes.
“The money I am asking for is solely to fund the rest of my action in court.
“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.
“I have the fight of my life on my hands and every little bit will help.”News Now - Sport News