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Rugby Australia terminate Wallabies star Israel Folau's contract

Cross-code star Israel Folau has been axed by Rugby Australia today after being found guilty of a high-level breach of Rugby Australia's professional players' code of conduct.

Folau controversially posted last month on social media that gay people, along with other "sinners," will face damnation unless they repent.

An independent three-person panel today terminated Folau's four-year, $4 million Rugby Australia contract.

The three-member panel John West QC (Chair), Kate Eastman SC and John Boultbee AM provided their final written decision today relating to the code of conduct hearing over Folau’s social media posts on April 10, 2019.

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said Folau's actions had forced the organisation's hand and they had no choice but to tear up his contract.

Mitsubishi Estate Series 2nd Test, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia 16/6/2018
Australia vs Ireland
Australia's Israel Folau dejected after the game
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Wallabies star Israel Folau. Source: Photosport

"While Rugby Australia accepts the panel’s decision directing termination of Israel Folau's playing contract for his high-level breach of the code of conduct, we want to stress that this outcome is a painful situation for the game," said Castle

"Rugby Australia did not choose to be in this situation, but Rugby Australia's position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue this course of action.

"I've communicated directly with the players to make it clear that Rugby Australia fully supports their right to their own beliefs and nothing that has happened changes that. But when we are talking about inclusiveness in our game, we're talking about respecting differences as well.

"When we say Rugby is a game for all, we mean it. People need to feel safe and welcomed in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion, or sexuality.

"Representing Australia and all Australians on the Rugby field is a privilege. Selection is dependent upon a player’s ability to contribute to the Wallabies, and the game of Rugby itself, in a positive and consistent manner both on and off the field.

"When players sign a contract with the Wallabies, they sign up to the values of the team and the sport.

"Israel is a great Rugby player and we are disappointed and saddened by the fact that he will not see out his four-year commitment to the Wallabies and Waratahs," she said.

Folau will have 72 hours to appeal and force a second code of conduct hearing.


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