If Israel Folau’s attorney is credible, no lawyer jokes here, all that seems necessary for Folau to drop his religious freedom suit agasint Rugby Australia would be an apology from Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle.
There is the little matter of Folau wanting to resume his international career and the even smaller matter of the $10 million he would like to smooth his feathers, but Federal Circuit Court Chief Judge Will Alstergren is urging both parties to reach a solution via a mediation session on December 13.
Perhaps they should resort to a meditation session, or even a medication session, as it appears as though both sides have firmly implanted heels, each convinced of the moral high ground of their respective positions.
If the December meeting does not show some progress, even if the progress is only an agreement to delay a court trial past the scheduled date, the case will be heard in early February on 2020.
Time is on the side of Rugby Australia. The administrative body will outlive Folau and Folau, now 30 years of age, is on the backside of his football career.
Folau found sufficient like-minded backers that he was able to raise more than $2 million in donations to fund his legal battle, so at least one winner in the dispute will be his attorney, George Haros.
Haros told reporters, in remarks made public by Reuters News, “It’s been publicly acknowledged by Israel and his team that he still seeks that apology and that’s still very important to him. That would come a long way to resolving the dispute.”
Haros would probably be less accepting if Folau were to lose, or be exonerated, if Folau were to say something like, “Sorry mate, I don’t have the money to pay you.”
Folau was expected to play a key role for the Wallabies at Rugby World Cup when it gets underway in Japan during the second half of September, but that, obviously, is a longer chance than is the proposition for Australia to beat New Zealand.