Australian broadcaster Waleed Aly believes former Wallaby Israel Folau’s latest move to up the ante in his legal fight against Rugby Australia may backfire on him and instead direct more goodwill towards the game’s governing body Down Under.
Earlier this week Folau increased his compensation demands from $10 million to $14 million as he continues his war against RA for what he believes was wrongful termination after being sacked for saying on Instagram “hell awaits” gay people.
In an updated statement of claim lodged with the Federal Circuit Court during the week, Folau is partly justifying his demand for more money by saying he will now miss out on extra earnings that come with being skipper of the national side.
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That claim has been rubbished by many, including former teammate David Pocock, while it’s been suggested the $4 million increase in Folau’s lawsuit is a tactical legal ploy to encourage RA to settle for a larger amount of money than it otherwise would have agreed to had the claim remained at $10 million.
Co-host of The Project Aly, also a trained lawyer, said Folau’s latest bombshell may actually work against him in the court of public opinion.
“At this point, given that we’ve got as far as we’ve gotten, and legal fees aside, I’m not actually sure that rugby loses a lot by this continuing,” Aly said on ABC program Offsiders.
“Because the longer this goes on, I think the more outlandish Israel Folau’s claims have become and he’s starting to lose some of the support that he had.
“So if you look at this as a PR thing, I think rugby have ended up in a better position than it looked like they were going to end up in.
“The $14 million claim is a really good example of that. I think it’s fair to say, given what he’s done, if he kept his role within the Wallabies, he’s not being the captain — that’s really, really obvious.”
READ: Folau clarifies bushfire, gay marriage comments
READ: Pocock’s blunt reality check for Folau
Folau’s legal fight keeps dragging on.Source:News Corp Australia
Aly believes Folau’s legal play may come back to back him.Source:News Corp Australia
While Folau’s claim has been updated to suggest he is missing out on income he would have generated by captaining the Wallabies, Pocock said there was no way he was ever replacing current skipper Michael Hooper, who is two years younger than the cross-code star.
“I think Michael Hooper has been doing a great job and he’s contracted to the next World Cup so I’m not sure where Izzy’s getting that from,” Pocock said on Fox Sports News on Friday.
Another former Wallaby in Peter FitzSimons was also scathing of Folau’s “absurd” claim he was in line to lead the national side.
“From a distance, I just thought, ‘What? Captain?’ … but Michael Cheika, who was the Wallabies coach of course, he moved through seven vice-captains,” FitzSimons told TVNZ.
“Now, if Michael Cheika had seven vice-captains and Israel Folau wasn’t one of them, I think by definition he was a very unlikely man to be captain.
“I find the claim absolutely absurd.”
Folau is saying his contract termination will cost him $4.2 million from 2019-2022, as well as $300,000 in match payments from 2019-2021 and an additional $150,000 in match payments in 2022.
He also claims he stood to make up to $1.5 million a season for one or two years with Rugby Australia and a Super Rugby club after 2022.
Folau suggests he would have earned up to $1.5 million a year for two-to-three years had he chosen to play overseas after his international career ended.
Estimates provided over lost sponsorship dollars and the missed revenue that comes with competing at World Cups were also used to justify the controversial star’s new $14 million demand.
The claim includes estimates of between $450,000 and $1.25 million a year lost in “post-playing career monetary benefits” over a span of 15 to 25 years.
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