Sacked Australia rugby player Israel Folau has raised his demands for compensation to £7.4m after he was sacked over a catalogue of homophobic and offensive comments in May.

Folau is suing Rugby Australia after he was stripped of his $4m contract due to a social media post claiming “hell awaits” gay people, paraphrasing a Bible passage saying “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators” would go to hell unless they repent. He has since said that he has “absolutely” no regrets over the posts.

Folau argues that the termination of his contract – the first of its kind in Australia – is a case of religious discrimination and he has now added potential lost earnings and sponsorship deals to his amended claim filed on Wednesday. He argues that Australia would have achieved a “superior performance” at the Rugby World Cup, where they were knocked out by England in the quarter-finals, had he been included in the squad. 

Folau had originally sought around £5.3m and his return to the Australia side. The case will be heard in the Federal Circuit Court next February. 

A second fundraiser for the 30-year-old’s legal fees reportedly raised over £1m within 24 hours after an initial GoFundMe account was taken down by the crowdfunding page due to breaching their terms of service.

Folau’s comments took the spotlight again this month when he blamed the country’s devastating bushfire crisis on same-sex marriage and abortion. 

Speaking at his local church, Folau said: “They’ve legalised same-sex marriage … which is going against the laws that God says… Abortion – it’s OK now to murder and kill infants, unborn children – and they deem that to be OK. Look how rapid these bushfires, these droughts, all these things they’ve come in a short period of time – you think it’s a coincidence or not?

“What you see out there in the world – it’s only a little taste of what God’s judgment is like. The news is saying these bushfires are the worst we’ve ever seen in Australia – they haven’t seen anything. God is speaking to us. Speaking to you to repent and to turn away from this.”


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