The true cost of the Israel Folau drama

2020-05-13 13:02
Israel Folau (Getty Images)
Israel Folau (Getty Images)

The Covid-19 pandemic might've been the final blow to Rugby Australia's (RA) wobbly finances, but last year's Israel Folau saga inflicted significant monetary damage as well.

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According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the embattled governing body's financial statements for 2019 will show that it had pay a combined R91.1 million (A$7.6 million) more in "player" and "corporate" costs, most of which is largely attributable to the termination of the star fullback's central contract in May last year.

Those line times contributed significantly to an overall operating loss of approximately R113 million (A$9.4 million) last year.

The 30-year-old Folau, who's now back in rugby league with France's Catalans Dragons, was found to be in breach of the RA's code of conduct following discriminatory public statements over homosexuality, but stood his ground and later sued the organisation for compensation.

An undisclosed settlement was made in December, which the publication subsequently revealed was R48 million (A$4 million) though the Waratahs had to foot half of that bill.

The R46 million (A$ 3.8 million) increase in corporate expenditure was predominantly driven by RA's legal fees, while also paying a significant amount to Bastion Reputation Management, the external firm that was hired to handle the PR resulting from the fallout.

Furthermore, RA also had to fork out R11.9 million (A$1 million) for Wallaby skipper Michael Hooper's new contract and brought scrumhalf Nic White back from England at a significant cost too.

Interestingly, 2019's sizeable loss is standard for World Cup years, with RA sustaining losses of R142 million (A$11.9 million) and R117.3 million (A$9.8 million) in 2015 and 2011 respectively. 

- Compiled by Sport24 Staff


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