Former Wallabies fullback Israel Folau says he is grateful to all the benefactors who have contributed over half a million dollars to fund his legal fight against Rugby Australia.
Citing the financial costs that he and his wife Maria had already incurred in legal fees, Folau started a GoFundMe page with a $3m goal to help in his fight against Rugby Australia.
Folau has since been widely criticised with many people feeling his decision to ask for donations are greedy and selfish. Former internationals Drew Mitchell and Morgan Turinui as well as Joe Marler have all since publicly voiced their distaste in the latest act from the Folau camp.
But the beleaguered 30-year-old remains undeterred by what he considers as personal attacks on him. In an Instagram post on Saturday evening, Folau, who is a multi-millionaire property tycoon, thanked those who had parted with their hard-earned cash for what he has described as ‘the fight of my life’.
Folau’s show of gratitude to his supporters comes after his GoFundMe page soared to $672,640 in just four days.
View this post on Instagram
Thank you to all those who have given to my Legal Action Fund so far. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the support I have received, for which I am very grateful. Unsurprisingly, I have been criticised by Rugby Australia and some sections of the media overnight. I decided to take legal action when Rugby Australia terminated my employment contract and ended my playing career after I expressed my religious beliefs on social media. I have received thousands of messages from supporters who believe discrimination in the workplace is wrong and has no place in Australia or anywhere else. Sadly, Rugby Australia have said that they will devote significant resources to fight me in court. This shows I have a long and hard battle on my hands, which is why I am asking for your support. 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. Your support and my faith in Jesus Christ will give me strength. If you choose to donate, within your capacity, I would be very grateful of your support for my legal case. For those not in the position to donate, I value your prayers and messages of support so much. God bless!
Meanwhile, a rugby fan Robbie Owen has launched a counter GoFundMe page against Folau to in an attempt to show that ‘intolerance will not be tolerated’ in the sport. The funds raised by will be donated to Stonewall, a UK based organisation responsible for the ‘Rainbow Laces’ initiative encouraging tolerance and inclusivity across all sports.
Photo: Getty Images