Folau believes he was set to become captain of a ‘trophy-winning Wallabies team’ prior to his termination
Ex-Wallabies star Israel Folau has raised his damages claim from $10m to $14m against Rugby Australia after he was kicked off his team over an allegedly homophobic social media post.
Folau believes he was on track to become captain of a “trophy-winning Wallabies team” prior to his termination and is now demanding $14m as recompense for potential lost earnings.
The star athlete argues his missed participation at the Rugby World Cup in Japan this year would have led to the team’s “superior performance,” court documents revealed.
The updated lawsuit also takes into account Folau’s purported lost earnings from sponsorship deals and match performances. It estimates income losses of up to $1.25m a year in “post-playing career monetary benefits” for up to 25 years. It argues the athlete could have played successfully until retirement.
The landmark case is also set to test the limits of religious expression in professional settings across Australia. The fullback, who identifies as Christian, was fired in May after claiming on Instagram that “hell awaits” drunks and homosexuals. The post prompted Rugby Australia to terminate his contract.
Folau, however, claims he was wrongfully dismissed as a result of religious discrimination. He later said his remarks on social media were a “low-level breach,” and offered to be placed on suspension and pay a fine instead.
Rugby Australia maintained Folau was free to express his views online “provided that these were done in a respectful and inclusive manner.”