Rugby Australia’s code of conduct hearing has finalised a decision to terminate Israel Folau’s contract after a three-day hearing last week.
Folau has a 72-hour window in which he can request an appeal, and also has the option of taking his case to a higher authority.
“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 Rugby Australia CEO Raelene 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.
“This has been an extremely challenging period for Rugby and this issue has created an unwanted distraction in an important year for the sport and for the Wallabies team. But our clear message to all rugby fans today is that we need to stand by our values and the qualities of inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork.
“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.”
The decision originates from a homophobic Instagram post made by Folau in April which stated that “Hell awaits” homosexuals along with other ‘sinners’. It was not the first occasion where Folau has posted homophobic material on social media.
Rugby Australia made repeated attempts to contact Folau after the post, but when he failed to respond they announced a decision to terminate his contract.
Folau requested a code of conduct hearing, with a three-day hearing last week supporting Rugby Australia’s judgment that Folau had committed a ‘high-level breach’ of the organisation’s code of conduct.
The panel has now also found in favour of Rugby Australia’s decision to terminate Folau’s contract.
Folau also confirmed earlier this week that Rugby Australia had attempted to negotiate a compromise that would see him welcomed back into the organisation if he deleted the post in question.
However, Folau refused this offer, and has made no apologies for his behaviour.
He also reportedly knocked back a $1 million settlement offer from Rugby Australia.
Rugby Australia have reportedly already paid as much as $350,000 in legal fees while negotiating this process.