Leaked Rugby Australia financial figures for 2019 have revealed the real cost of the Israel Folau saga. The figures, which were obtained by News Corp but were still to be signed off by auditors, show a A$4million rise in “player costs and RUPA (Rugby Union Players Association)” and a $3.8m increase in “corporate costs”.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Folau settlement – estimated to be around $4m – is included in the player costs, with half paid by NSW Rugby. Cost of the payout is also included in the $20m Rugby Australia owes to creditors.
Folau reached a settlement last December with Rugby Australia over his controversial sacking for writing anti-gay posts on social media. The ex-Wallabies star had been suing RA for $14m after having his contract terminated in May. A Christian, Folau argued that the termination of his contract was a case of religious discrimination.
Former RA boss Raelene Castle said at the time reports of an $8m settlement were inaccurate and that the figures were confidential. The Folau saga also caused an increase in corporate costs from legal fees and the hiring of PR firm Bastion Reputation Management.
The other reasons for the spike in player costs include payments for the first year of Wallabies captain Michael Hooper’s contract and a deal to bring half-back Nic White back to Australia in the middle of 2020 after his stint in England.
The financial figures as a whole reportedly showed an $8m loss in revenue because of the World Cup, as well as an increase of $5m in expenditure.
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