Gay employees may have sued if Israel Folau not dropped - Rugby Australia

The chairman of Rugby Australia says the organisation would have been sued by gay employees if it hadn't terminated the contract of controversial former Wallaby Israel Folau.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, chairman Cameron Clyne said Rugby Australia was under great pressure to get rid of Folau, who shared a controversial, homophobic Instagram post in April and refused to delete it.

"[The alternative] would be that we'd have no sponsors at all because no sponsor has indicated they would be willing to be associated with social media posts of that sort and that includes government, because we've also heard from them," he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Among those the organisation were concerned about were homosexual employees who may have begun litigation. 

"We would also potentially be in litigation with employees who are gay and who would say we're not providing a work place that is safe or respectful."

Rugby Australia may be heading to court against Folau, with the former Wallaby calling his contract termination "unlawful".

He's received backlash over the last two weeks for setting up a GoFundMe account to fund his legal action. That was eventually shut down, but the Australian Christian Lobby began a fundraiser which crossed NZ$2 million.

A conciliation conference on Friday also made little headway between the parties.

Folau told Sky News Australia in an interview on Thursday that he wanted an apology from Rugby Australia. 

"I'm hopeful for an apology from them and admission that they were wrong. That would be something that I would like to get."

The 30-year-old also said Rugby Australia offered him money to remove the post that caused the issue, but he declined to do so.

"I couldn't do that, as a person that's convicted by my faith. I couldn't live with that.

"I felt like I was backed into a corner, into a boundary where I had to agree to what they were asking, but in the end, I couldn't do it, because my faith to me is what's most important.

However, Rugby Australia has said it didn't make that request.

Clyne slammed Folau for believing that Rugby Australia was in the wrong, saying they allowed religious freedom but Folau had broken his contract with his comments.

"We've never given up on mediation, we've made many attempts, but we've also got to remember that this is bigger than Israel Folau, we have a duty to every other professional and community player in the game. We can't accept a scenario where contracts become arbitrary."