/Folau issued with Rugby Australia code of conduct breach notice

Folau issued with Rugby Australia code of conduct breach notice

Updated

April 15, 2019 16:05:01

Israel Folau’s future in Australian rugby union is hanging by a thread after he was issued with a Rugby Australia (RA) code of conduct breach notice recommending his contract be terminated.

Key points:

  • Israel Folau has 48 hours to respond to Rugby Australia’s code of conduct breach notice
  • If he chooses not to accept the sanction, he will face a code of conduct hearing
  • Folau maintains he is prepared to walk away from rugby union because of his religious beliefs

Folau has 48 hours to accept the sanction, relating to his his social media posts last week, or have the matter referred to a code of conduct hearing.

The 30-year-old had already been stood down by RA in the wake of the posts proclaiming hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters.”

RA chief executive Raelene Castle said Folau had been deemed to have “committed a high-level breach” of the professional players’ code of conduct.

“At its core, this is an issue of the responsibilities an employee owes to their employer and the commitments they make to their employer to abide by their employer’s policies and procedures and adhere to their employer’s values,” Castle said.

“Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and New South Wales Waratahs with regards to social media use, and he has failed to meet those obligations.

“It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.

“All professional rugby players in Australia are bound by the code of conduct and there is a process in place for any disciplinary matter.

“We appreciate that this particular matter will attract significant interest, but due process must be followed.”

Ms Castle said Folau “expressed no remorse” for his social media posts when she and other rugby officials met with him last Friday.

“He was unapologetic for his posts and his position and that left us with no option but to move forward to the position that we’re in today,” she said.

Ms Castle said it was “very disappointing” to see how Folau had behaved following the controversy of last year’s tweets and RA’s subsequent talks with the dual international.

“I had a very direct and specific conversation with him about the expectations that I had,” she said.

“He accepted that conversation. He said that he understood that conversation. He shook my hand at the end of that conversation and said he was very clear of it and yet he has gone off and done what he’s done.”

Folau’s World Cup hopes set to be dashed

Earlier on Monday, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said Folau’s “disrespectful” social media posts made it impossible to pick the star full-back for this year’s Rugby World Cup.

“You wouldn’t be able to,” Cheika said when asked whether he would be able to select Folau again under current circumstances.

Cheika conceded Folau had crossed a line that was marked when he made similar tweets a year ago.

“Getting out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team’s about,” Cheika said.

“When you play in the gold jersey, we represent everyone in Australia — everyone. Everyone that’s out there supporting us. We don’t pick and choose.

“We want everyone on that wagon with us to the World Cup … or a Bledisloe Cup. We want everyone there fighting with us and standing with us.”

Cheika admitted he did not think the issue would rear its head again after last year’s controversy, while he had tried unsuccessfully to contact Folau for an explanation about last week’s posts..

“We had a discussion at the end of the last time and made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that if that’s what he wants,” he said.

“I felt that I needed to talk to him about why, and I haven’t had that chance as yet. I’m sure I will in the future at some stage when it settles down for him a little bit.

“I made the calls and left the messages. There’s no beef.”

Folau lives ‘for God now’

Folau broke his silence on Sunday, saying he would be prepared to walk away from rugby union.

“I live for God now,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“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’s chances of moving back to the NRL have been ruled out after the league said the Australia and Queensland rugby league representative did not pass the code’s “inclusiveness culture”.

Folau has played 73 Tests for Australia. He recently scored his 60th try in Super Rugby to become the competition’s all-time leading try scorer.

AAP/ABC

Topics:

rugby-union-world-cup,

super-rugby,

rugby-union,

sport,

sydney-2000

First posted

April 15, 2019 13:36:27