Israel Folau and wife Maria, who plays for the Thunderbirds in the Super Netball.
Israel Folau and wife Maria, who plays for the Thunderbirds in the Super Netball.

Netball Australia refuses to back Folau's call for handouts

As the drama surrounding Israel Folau's controversial GoFundMe campaign rages on and as more commentators weigh in Netball South Australia has had their say on Folau's wife Maria reposting his plea for monetary support on her own Instagram account.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds star, like her husband is deeply religious, and reposted Israel's initial Instagram post, where he asked for people to donate up to $3 million to help him fund his legal battle against Rugby Australia, despite years of multi-million dollar contracts in both rugby and the AFL.

Netball South Australia CEO Bronwyn Klei released a statement on Maria Folau and while the federation did not back her they did not whack her either, taking a diplomatic stand.

"First and foremost, I want to be very clear that Netball South Australia is fiercely determined to provide an inclusive environment that allows anyone to participate in the great game of netball regardless of gender, religious belief, age, race or sexual orientation," Klei's statement said.

"We also believe in fairness and perspective.

"Like millions of other people across Australia, Maria Folau uses her personal social media platform to share her life and beliefs with her family, friends and fans. This week, she shared her husband's controversial GoFundMe post.

"While Netball SA in no way endorses the reposting, we do not believe Maria has contravened our social media policy.

"Maria is a key member of the Thunderbirds. Not only has she provided great strength and leadership on court, she attends and works with netballing clinics, spends a lot of time with fans, engages with local communities and passionately encourages kids with their netball dreams.

"We continue to support her as we support all our players."

The statement then went on to clarify Netball SA's position on equality in terms of gender and inclusiveness.

"To the thousands of people that play netball across South Australia every week:

"Netball SA is not endorsing Maria's repost.

"Netball SA is committed to diversity and inclusion.

"Netball SA and the Adelaide Thunderbirds support and encourage everyone wanting to play this great game."

Netball Australia and the Super Netball League said they would also not take any action against Maria Folau.

The Folau's GoFundMe page has now seen over 8,500 people make donations to the pair, totalling more than $640,000.

News Corp Australia


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