Sacked former Wallabies star Israel Folau has confirmed a last-ditch attempt to avert court action against Rugby Australia has failed.
The Fair Work Commission issued a certificate on Friday confirming all reasonable attempts to resolve the dispute have been unsuccessful.
The long delay in the industrial relations umpire issuing the certificate had sparked speculation a negotiated outcome was still possible.
Folau’s lawyers now have 14 days to lodge a case with the Federal Court.
The timing is now likely to coincide with the Morrison government’s looming debate on new religious freedom laws, if he chooses to proceed with legal action.
The rugby player’s contract was ripped up last month over his Instagram post that said homosexuals would go to hell unless they repented. The homophobic post also warned drunks, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters that “hell awaits you”.
A fundamentalist Christian, Folau is arguing the prohibition on his social media posts is an affront to his religious freedoms.
The 30-year-old star’s legal team includes barristers George Haros and Stuart Wood AM QC.
“We are disappointed that we were unable to reach a settlement with Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs through the Fair Work Commission despite numerous good faith discussions,” Mr Haros told The New Daily.
“We would like to thank the commission for its efforts in trying to bring all parties to a common ground.
“With our client, we are now considering our options, which includes the possibility of court action.”
Folau is currently overseas, supporting wife Maria at the netball world cup in Liverpool.
Last month Folau said the legal fight was a matter of principle. But cash is also involved with the star player seeking up to $10 million in lost earnings.
“I will forever be grateful and proud to have played the sport I love for our nation,” he said.
“Ours is an amazing country built on important principles, including freedom of religion.
“A nation made up of so many different faiths and cultural backgrounds will never be truly rich unless this freedom applies to all of us.”
Rugby Australia said on Friday night it had not further comment on the certificate being issued.
However, it denied speculation the prospect of Folau playing for Australia in the World Cup was raised the matter was resolved.
Previously, Rugby Australia said it had no choice other than to act in the interests of the right of all Australians to feel safe.
“We will defend those values and the right for all people to feel safe and welcome in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion or sexuality,” the statement said.
“We will remain focused on getting on with the job of building our game, supporting our teams, encouraging more people to play rugby and upholding the values that generations of Wallabies and Waratahs have represented with pride.”