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Australia international Israel Folau posts homophobic comments claiming gay people will be sent to ‘Hell’

The Independent logo The Independent 04/04/2018 Jack Austin
Israel Folau with a football ball © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Australia rugby union international Israel Folau has been embroiled in yet more controversy after homophobic comments suggesting gay people would be sent to “Hell” unless they “repent their sins”.

The full-back, who is considered one of the best in the world for that position, posted a picture on his Instagram with “God’s plan” before one follower asked “what was God’s plan for gay people?”

Folau, who has 337,000 followers, replied: “HELL… Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”

a screenshot of a cell phone: folau.png © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited folau.png

Folau posted this on his Instagram page (Instagram (@izzyfolau))

Australia recently voted to legalise gay marriage in the country but in the lead up to the vote Folau, a devout Christian, made his views known, tweeting: “I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. But personally, I will not support gay marriage.”

He refused to delete the tweet and later said: “I stand alongside what I said on that time and I've left it there.

“I stay true to myself and what I believe in. I thought about all the things that could happen afterwards, and that’s fine for me, I respect everyone and everyone’s opinions which is all good.”

A spokesman for Rugby Australia insisted Folau’s comments did not “reflect the views of Rugby Australia” and “we support all forms of inclusion whether it’s sexuality, race or gender.”

It is the latest homophobic controversy to face rugby union after England winger Denny Solomona allegedly used homophobic slurs against Worcester’s Jamie Shilcock in a Premiership match for Sale Sharks and is due for a disciplinary hearing on Thursday.

In January France centre Mathieu Bastareaud was dropped from the Six Nations squad after being given a three-week suspension for using homophobic language.

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