Israel Folau Thanks Donors After $570K Fund Haul

June 23, 2019 Updated: June 23, 2019

Former Wallaby Israel Folau has thanked donors for pouring more than $570,000 into his legal fight against Rugby Australia, doubling down on his intention to use the funds despite public outcry.

Hardline Christian Folau had his $4 million Rugby Australia contract terminated in May after a social media post citing the Bible was deemed homophobic.

It followed a similar incident last year.

The former NRL, AFL and rugby star received more than $570,000 in donations of a $3 million target to his online fundraising page as of 7.10pm on Saturday, June 22.

Almost 7400 people have donated to help support the former player’s legal stoush against RA.

Folau is requesting donations despite a reported $7 million property portfolio and the recent sale of a $500,000 Lamborghini.

He thanked donors on Saturday and said he was “unsurprised” by criticism from RA and media personalities regarding his decision to establish the Go Fund Me page.

“The money that is donated will be used to fund my legal battle, which could take years. While the attacks against me have shown I have a big fight on my hands, I will stand strong,” Folau wrote on social media.

“Your support and my faith in Jesus Christ will give me strength.”

Israel Folau
Israel Folau of the Waratahs looks on during the round 8 Super Rugby match between the Blues and Waratahs at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand on April 6, 2019. (Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

In his initial plea for donations, Folau said he had “the fight of my life on my hands”. He has launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission against RA and is seeking up to $10 million in damages.

The case could be a landmark test of religious freedoms in Australia.

RA were less than impressed by Folau’s attempt to solicit donations online.

“From our perspective (Go Fund Me) is a place where sick children get support, so it’s certainly not a strategy we think is appropriate,” Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle told Nine News on Friday.

Former Wallabies teammate Drew Mitchell also slammed Folau’s decision, saying there were others more deserving of donations.

“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 & yet YOU think YOU deserve donations more than they do??!!,” he posted online.

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