Details of the agreement between Israel Folau and Rugby Australia remain secret this evening, despite claims that it has drawn a line under the bitter dispute between the player and rugby’s administrators.
Folau had been pursuing a multi-million damages claim against Rugby Australia after he was sacked for posting comments saying gays faced eternal damnation.
Last week he upped his claim to Aus$14 million.
The Sydney Morning Herald has speculated that Rugby Australia was likely to have paid a “significant amount of money” to the 74-test fullback.
Despite the court settlement, Folau’s future is uncertain.
Australia’s National Rugby League – his original code – has made it clear it does not want him back and a move to Tonga’s national rugby league team in September failed.
Rugby Australia apologised to Folau for his dismissal.
Folau posted a statement that “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers” and others would go to hell.
According to The Guardian, Rugby Australia, Rugby New South Wales and Folau said the post reflected Folau’s “genuinely held religious beliefs” and that he “did not intend to harm or offend any person when he uploaded the post.”
“While it was not Rugby Australia’s intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus,” the statement said.
“Similarly, Mr Folau did not intend to hurt or harm the game of rugby and acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused.”
The statement was issued after 14 hours of mediation at the Federal Court in Melbourne.
This afternoon Folau posted a video thanking his supporters.
“We are extremely pleased with the settlement reached today,” he said.
“With today’s acknowledgment 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. [My wife] Maria and I would like to thank God for his guidance and strength.
“We started this journey on behalf of all people of faith, to protect their rights of freedom of speech and religion.”