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Netball Australia to take no action against Maria Folau for supporting sacked rugby player husband Israel Folau

Netball Australia to take no action against Maria Folau for supporting sacked rugby player husband Israel Folau
June 24, 2019

Suncorp Super Netball star Maria Folau will not be punished for supporting sacked her husband, the sacked rugby union player husband Israel Folau.

Australian rugby union authorities terminated the devout Christian's contract over a social media post in which he said "hell awaits" gay people.

New Zealand netball international Folau shared a post from her husband on social media asking people to support his legal action against his sacking.

In a statement, Netball Australia advised it is "committed to providing welcoming, inclusive and supportive places for all people to play and watch our great game", adding "we are aware that Adelaide Thunderbirds' athlete Maria Folau re-posted her husband's GoFundMe page details via social media. There is no action required by the league.

"We will continue to support Maria as a valued member of the Thunderbirds and the Suncorp Super Netball league."

An additional statement by Netball South Australia Chief Executive, Bronwyn Klei, said Folau has not broken the rules of her contract.

Klei advised "first and foremost, I want to be very clear that Netball South Australia is fiercely determined to provide an inclusive environment that allows anyone to participate in the great game of netball regardless of gender, belief, age race or sexual orientation.

"We also believe in fairness and perspective. Like millions of other people across Australia, Maria Folau uses her personal social media platform to share her life and beliefs with her family, friends and fans.

"While Netball SA is no way endorses the reposting, we do not believe Maria has contravened our social media policy."

The action by the netball bodies was slammed by former Australian captain, Liz Ellis who wrote on social media in response "Yeah nah not good enough.

"There is no room for homophobia in our game. Anyone who is seen to support or endorse homophobia is not welcome.”

Capped 73 times by Australia, Israel Folau has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $3 million for his legal case against his sacking, despite reportedly having a property portfolio worth more than $5 million and, until recently, having owned a Lamborghini super car.

By Sunday morning, more than 8,500 people had contributed $662,000 to the appeal.

Rugby Australia says Folau - who has also represented his country in rugby league and Australian rules football - was sacked "because of a serious breach of the Professional Players' Code of Conduct".

He has taken the matter to the Fair Work Commission claiming his contract was unlawfully terminated.

Last weekend, Folau was recorded delivering a sermon at his church in Sydney. He said "the devil" is trying to influence the debate over transgender rights.

His wife has been questioned about his comments since his original social media post in April, but refused to make public comment.

Folau has 138 Test caps for the Silver Ferns and is expected to feature for her country at this summer's Netball World Cup in the UK which starts next month.

Image: Israel and Maria Folau. Source Instagram.

Related Articles

22nd June 2019 - New research shows Homophobic language rife in ice hockey

24th May 2019 - Rugby Australia Chairman acknowledges reputation damage from Israel Folau saga

17th May 2019 - Israel Folau’s Australian rugby union contract terminated due to code of conduct breach 

7th May 2019 - Israel Folau guilty of breaching Rugby Australia’s code of conduct

3rd May 2019 - Why Israel Folau’s social media posts are harmful

24th April 2019 - New research explores why homophobic language is used in sport

12th April 2019 - Pride in Sport welcomes NSW Rugby Union and Rugby Australia action against Israel Folau

27th April 2016 - Netball Foundation campaign aims to ‘Give Every Girl a Chance’

7th November 2015 - Netball Australia launches inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan

21st March 2014 - Netball celebrates cultural diversity

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