Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle has described reports that the organisation paid $8 million to Israel Folau as part of a legal settlement as “wildly inaccurate”.
Folau’s contract was terminated by Rugby Australia (RA) in May after he posted to social media that homosexuals, among others, would go to hell.
He then took legal action against RA, demanding $14 million in compensation and an apology for what he claimed was an unlawful dismissal.
On Thursday morning Castle denied claims in the Daily Telegraph Folau had received an $8 million payout.
Raelene Castle tweet: Folau settlement numbers are confidential but numbers being speculated are wildly inaccurate
In a press conference later in the morning, Castle refused to disclose the exact sum, but said the decision was a “commercial” one.
“In these types of disputes you do try and find a situation that gives us some certainty,” Castle said.
“This was that. And it is a situation where the settlement is less than the cost of a trial going ahead.
“Taking this conversation further into a court situation was not in the best interests of the game.”
On Wednesday, a joint statement from Rugby Australia, NSW Rugby and Folau confirmed a settlement had been reached after talks resumed via teleconference.
“While it was not Rugby Australia’s intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus,” the statement said.
Castle responded to criticism of RA’s apology to the former rugby league and AFL player, saying the situation was complex.
“There was an apology both ways. This has been very stressful. This has been a hard time for the Folaus and for Rugby Australia,” she said.
“At the end of the day we’ve parted ways.
“I’m personally really sad that we’ve found ourselves in this situation.”
She also said it was very unlikely Folau would ever return to the sport.
“It’s clear to see that our values are not aligned,” she said.