Folau says he will quit rugby if it is "God's will"

SYDNEY (AP) — Wallabies fullback Israel Folau says it will be "God's will" if his rugby career is ended over his comments that gay people will go to hell unless they repent.

Rugby Australia has indicated it will terminate Folau's contract unless he can cite "compelling mitigating circumstances" for his latest social media post in which he said hell awaits "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters."

A devout Christian, Folau had previously been warned but had not been sanctioned for similar comments.

In his first interview since Rugby Australia announced its intention to terminate his Wallabies and Super Rugby contracts, Folau told the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday he will walk away from rugby and his multi-million dollar income if God wills it.

Rugby Australia is expected on Monday to notify Folau he is in breach of his contract, starting the formal disciplinary process which could lead to his sacking.

The Sydney Morning Herald interviewed Folau after he had attended a church service in western Sydney on Sunday at which speakers praised his comments and said he is being persecuted for his faith.

"First and foremost, I live for God now," Folau said. "Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think.

"If that's not to continue on playing, so be it. In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I'll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first."

Folau, 30, said he had no intention of retracting or apologizing for his comments about gay people which, he insisted were based on his Christian beliefs.

"I'll stand on what the Bible says," he said. "I share it with love. I can see the other side of the coin where people's reactions are the total opposite to how I'm sharing it."

Folau indicated he was unlikely to legally challenge his termination, though some legal experts believe he would have a strong case if he asserted his right to freely express his beliefs.

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