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REVEALED: Why netballer Maria Folau was not punished for supporting her husband Israel's legal fight over anti-gay post

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 11/07/2019 Eliza Mcphee

Israel Folau posing for the camera: Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand said Folau's post did not breach any social media policies and allowed her to continue playing © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand said Folau's post did not breach any social media policies and allowed her to continue playing Netball Australia has announced Adelaide Thunderbirds star shooter Maria Folau, won't receive any punishment for supporting her husband Israel's controversial beliefs.

Some critics had called for Folau to be sanctioned for backing her husband and former Wallabies star Israel in his legal fight against Rugby Australia after he was sacked for his social media posts in May.

The rugby star created a GoFundMe page to raise money for his legal battle against Rugby Australia and his wife shared his post on her own Instagram account.   

Netball Australia, Netball New Zealand and the Adelaide Thunderbirds said Folau's promotion of her husband's GoFundMe page did not breach their social media policy so there would be no penalty imposed.

Lisa Alexander, coach of the Australian national team the Diamonds, said there was no option to remove Folau from the team but insisted the sport was inclusive.

'We're not the sport that's having to deal with Israel - Rugby Australia are - but we've made it very clear that we're an inclusive sport and that we want everyone to enjoy our game no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, the whole bit,' Ms Alexander told The Australian. 

Ms Alexander said the issue was 'complicated' and there was much more at stake than the integrity of the sport.  

'It's a bigger issue than sport and that's what sometimes misses the point with everybody,' Ms Alexander said.

Folau (pictured with her husband Israel) came under fire after sharing her husband's post about his GoFundMe page that was raising money for his legal battle against Rugby Australia

Folau (pictured with her husband Israel) came under fire after sharing her husband's post about his GoFundMe page that was raising money for his legal battle against Rugby Australia
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

'It's not just about the sport. It's contractual, it's legal, there's a moral dilemma side of things as well.'

Netball New Zealand, where Folau plays shooter for the national team, Silver Ferns, said that no policies had been breached as a result of the controversial post and their priority was to care for Maria.

Not everyone was happy with the decision with former Australian netball icon Liz Ellis slamming the lack of consequences.

'Not good enough. How about this: There is no room for homophobia in our game. Anyone who is seen to support or endorse homophobia is not welcome,' Ellis tweeted.

'As much as I love watching ⁦Maria Folau⁩ play netball I do not want my sport endorsing the views of her husband.'

ANZ, one of netball's largest sponsors, also criticised Folau's post making it known they did not support her or her husband's beliefs.

'We do not support the views of Silver Fern Maria Folau and have made our views known to her employer Netball NZ,' ANZ said in a statement.

'But we will continue to support Netball NZ and the tens of thousands of participants and supporters of the game.'

Maria Folau has kept quiet on the matter and will play for the Silver Ferns in the Netball World Cup in England on Friday.

 Israel Folau's contentious post quoted a biblical passage which said gay people - and other sinners such as athiests and fornicators - would go to hell if they did not repent.

His GoFundMe page was taken down by the fundraising site, but a new appeal was set up by the Australian Christian Lobby which raised even more money than the original campaign.

The new campaign raised over $2million from 20,000 donors in just two days with the website now pausing the fundraiser.

The page is still encouraging people to pledge their support for Israel Folau.

Pictures: Israel Folau: Highs and lows


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