Australia

Folau reactivates social accounts after deleting them on eve of court battle

Israel Folau and Rugby Australia could face a February trial if they fail to resolve a multi-million dollar unfair dismissal case. Source: AAP

Rugby star Israel Folau briefly removed his social media accounts the day before his $10 million unfair dismissal court battle begins in Melbourne.

Israel Folau has reactivated his Twitter and Instagram accounts shortly after removing them, a day before his legal stoush against Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs gets underway in Melbourne.

The former Wallabies player wants $10 million in damages and his contract reinstated after he was sacked for a social media post in April about people who will go to hell unless they repent for their sins.

The committed Christian says he was dismissed on religious grounds over his April Instagram post, in which he paraphrased a Bible passage stating that "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" were destined for hell.

A spokesperson for Folau and the law firm representing him, Macpherson Kelley, were contacted on Monday afternoon after Folau deleted his social media accounts.

Lawyers for Folau, Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs will appear at the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne for a directions hearing before Chief Judge Will Alstergren on Tuesday.

The matter will be video-linked live in Sydney.

Folau and Rugby Australia failed to reach an agreement at a Fair Work Commission mediation hearing in June, leaving the former star player claiming he had "no choice but to commence court action" after losing his multimillion-dollar contract.

More than 20,000 people have donated about $2.2 million to help fund Folau's legal fight through a campaign page set up by the Australian Christian Lobby.

The page replaced an earlier GoFundMe fundraiser, which the platform removed for breaching its service guidelines.

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