Land Rover ‘cuts ties’ with anti-gay rugby star Israel Folau and takes his car back

Land Rover has reportedly demanded rugby star Israel Folau give back his free car in wake of the player’s homophobic comments.

Folau, a player in Australia’s national rugby union squad the Wallabies, came under fire in April after saying that gay people are destined for hell.

Rugby Australia took no action against the player after he claimed he was simply expressing his religious beliefs, however he has continued to make homophobic remarks.

It has now emerged that Land Rover, which has a brand deal with Rugby Australia, allegedly cut ties with Folau in the wake of the scandal.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 21: Israel Folau of the Wallabies is tackled by Ryan Crotty of the All Blacks during the Bledisloe Cup match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)


The Sydney Daily Telegraph claims that within days of his remarks, Land Rover reportedly demanded that the player give back the free sponsored car he had been using as part of the deal.

The company insisted that he was never an official brand ambassador, and only received the car as part of an ongoing deal with Rugby Australia.

Despite losing his free Land Rover, the newspaper notes that Folau still has a $500,000 Lamborghini that he purchased.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Israel Folau of the Wallabies celebrates after scoring a try during The Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and the Argentina Pumas at Canberra Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)



Meanwhile Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has insisted the issue of Folau’s conduct has been “dealt with” and the matter closed.

According to the NZ Herald, said: “What’s happened has happened, it’s been dealt with now and it’s not going to be ongoing, so it’s not going to be an issue.

“There’s been a lot of conjecture on this on this from all different sides, left wing, right wing and all that type of stuff. But we need to be focusing on the footy, and getting ourselves clear on a big series against the northern hemisphere champions.

“I’m going to be reminding guys what the team is about, what it means to be part of the team and then guys make their decisions from there.

“He understands that he doesn’t want to affect the team around those sort of things. And like I said, if it’s not ongoing then it’s not going to be an issue.

“Izzy wants to be part of the team, not just now but in the future as well.

“Some people think he’s using it as some kind of tactic to get out of playing but if he wanted to go, he could go easily. He wants to play rugby.”

SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES - MAY 15: Israel Folau poses during an Australian Wallabies headshots session at Fox Sports on May 15, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)


In a previous statement Rugby Australia said: “Rugby Australia will not sanction Israel Folau for his comment posted on a social media platform on April 4.”

Referring to a lengthy article penned by Folau, Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle said: “Israel clearly articulated his religious beliefs and why his faith is important to him and has provided context behind his social media comment.

“In his own words, Israel said that he did not intend to upset people intentionally or bring hurt to the game. We accept Israel’s position.

“Rugby Australia will use this experience as an opportunity to remind all employees of their obligation to use social media in a respectful way.”