Israel Folau and Raelene Castle are headed for further clashes.
Israel Folau and Raelene Castle are headed for further clashes.

Folau hits back at rugby CEO’s bible-ban stance

Banished star Israel Folau has hit back at revelations Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle would have punished him simply for photcopying passages from the bible, saying "what Raelene said is in black and white".

Partial transcripts of a code of conduct hearing held before the star fullback was fired reveal Ms Castle said that the 30-year-old - who was the face of the game in Australia - would have been in trouble for copying problematic sections.

Asked about the situation as he left The Truth of Jesus Christ Church in Kenthurst yesterday, Folau rolled his eyes.

"What Raelene said is in black and white in the transcript," he said after attending a sermon. "I won't comment any further at this stage for ­obvious reasons."

Israel Folau has vowed to continue the fight against his contract termination. Picture: David Swift
Israel Folau has vowed to continue the fight against his contract termination. Picture: David Swift

Folau was sacked in May after the hearing. It found he breached Rugby Australia's code of conduct with an Instagram post in which he stated "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers" and others were going to hell. He said he was paraphrasing the Bible and refused to remove the post.

It was not the first time Folau had courted controversy. In May last year he posted on social media that homosexuals would go to hell.

The transcripts from the Rugby Australia hearing in April, revealed by The Sunday Telegraph, show Rugby Australia began to monitor Folau's social media use more closely after that post.

And Ms Castle said if he was to photocopy passages of the Bible he might still be in trouble with Rugby Australia. "I think it depends on which ones he - which pages he photocopied," she told the hearing.

When asked if it would cause trouble if he shared a photocopy of the passages he was referring to in his last post, Ms Castle said that, "yes, it would have".

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle is coming under increasing scrutiny over her role in the sacking of Israel Folau. Picture: Tim Hunter
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle is coming under increasing scrutiny over her role in the sacking of Israel Folau. Picture: Tim Hunter

The transcript also revealed the chief executive did not personally follow his social media accounts, despite speaking with him following the contentious post last year.

"I've got people that kindly do that for me," Ms Castle said.

Ms Castle and Rugby Australia declined to comment about the transcript.

After his multimillion-dollar contract was torn up, Folau employed well-known publicity company Civic Reputation to start a fundraising campaign ahead of his legal battle.

The Australian Christian Lobby has raised more than $2 million to fight his sacking and Folau is suing Rugby Australia for up to $10 million in lost earnings and opportunities.



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