Wednesday, 26 June, 2019

Israel Folau Challenges Rugby Australia's Breach Notice

Israel Folau and Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle. Image GettyMore Israel Folau and Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle. Image GettyMore
Shannon Reynolds | 17 April, 2019, 16:07

"Israel has responded formally today to request a Code of Conduct hearing which, under the circumstances, was not an unexpected outcome", Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle said in a statement.

The three-person tribunal could choose to back Rugby Australia's decision, rule that Folau did not breach the code of conduct, or issue him with a suspension that could see him return to the game.

Folau had form after a similar outburst previous year earned him a warning from Rugby Australia.

The religiously motivated Folau attracted the fresh storm of controversy when he posted on Instagram: "Warning".

The hearing will involve a representative of RA, a representative of the players' union RUPA and an independent person given the green light from both organisations.

"Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs employee is that he can not share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality".

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

The fundamentalist Christian posted similar comments previous year but escaped sanction and signed a new deal with RA through 2022 in February.

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The Daily Telegraph says that Folau, who inked a $4 million four year deal last year, refused to have the additional clauses retrospectively inserted into the contract.

'We had a discussion after the last time and made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that, if that's what he wants, to be part of the team, ' Cheika added.

Owens, who is gay, said high-profile players such as under-fire Wallabies star Folau need to understand the influence they have over young, vulnerable people in particular. The 30-year old included homosexuals among his list of "sinners", but in 2014 he had helped promote the Bingham Cup, the biennial world championship of gay and inclusive rugby, which that year was held in Sydney.

The devout Christian had shared similar sentiments in the past and was previously warned not to do so by Ms Castle.

"Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent", Folau wrote as a caption.

'Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him, ' Folau posted alongside two bible verses.

The same day, he linked on Twitter a story about Tasmania allowing those ages 16 and over to change their birth certificates or to remove gender from the certificates altogether.

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