Israel Folau’s landmark code of conduct hearing against Rugby Australia has come to an end. The superstar’s fate appears sealed.
A disciplinary hearing ruled today that Israel Folau committed a “high-level breach” of Rugby Australia’s code of conduct. He used social media to criticize gays.
Many expected the three-person, independent panel to take days before reaching a decision. It only took a matter of hours. the Rugby Australia statement said. “The panel has today provided a judgment that Israel Folau committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct with his social media posts on April 10, 2019. The panel will now take further written submissions from the parties to consider the matter of sanction.”
Rugby Australia boss, Raelene Castle, issued Folau with a breach notice last month. Following his controversial social media posts about homosexuals and other sinners. She also threatened to tear up his four year, $4m contract.
While Folau may yet be spared the sack, termination of his contract is now a possibility. Had the panel deemed Folau’s breach of the players’ code of conduct anything less than “high level”, the governing body would not have had the power to boot him out of the game. The sanction is not expected to be handed down for several days, with RA not offering a timeline on any decision.
It does mean though, that Folau, who rejected a settlement offer of $1 million by RA before the matter went to a code of conduct, will not receive any payout now.Wallabies coach, Michael Cheika has said Folau is unlikely to be selected for Australia again.
In addition to his rugby union career, Folau has also played professional rugby league and Australian rules football. In April, Australian rugby league’s governing body ruled out Folau returning to the NRL.