Israel Folau's contract terminated by Rugby Australia

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Rugby,
Publish Date
Friday, 17 May 2019, 5:15PM
Israel Folau. Photo / Getty Images
Israel Folau. Photo / Getty Images

Israel Folau's four-year A$4million contract has been terminated by Rugby Australia.

The decision was announced by Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle and New South Wales Rugby CEO Andrew Hore at a press conference this evening.

Castle called the decision "painful" but said Folau "left them with no choice".

The Wallabies star had sat through a three-day hearing in which he, Castle, Hore and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika all gave evidence.

The independent three-person panel of John West QC, John Boultbee and Kate Eastman then retired to consider their judgements last Tuesday, before returning their verdict today.

Folau has the right to appeal the decision and has 72 hours to do so, but it is believed he will neglect that option and instead take Rugby Australia to the Supreme Court, if found guilty.

A disciplinary hearing had earlier nine days ago ruled the Wallabies fullback committed a "high-level breach" of Rugby Australia's code of conduct when he used social media to criticise gays.

It will be a hammer blow to Folau, who is now set to be left with nothing after reportedly previously knocking back a settlement offer of $1 million, a figure that RA has denied.

With the panel ruling to terminate Folau's contract, RA will not have to pay a cent more on his four-year, $4 million contract. However, Folau can still request to appeal the verdict under a different three-member panel.

He is also reportedly considering further legal action, despite the rising costs of his legal defence.

The Wallabies star described his fallout with the governing body as "challenging" and spoke of being tempted by the "opportunity" to rekindle his career with the NSW Waratahs and Wallabies during a Sydney church address.

"All the materialistic things I have been able to have over the last number of years are slowly being taken away from me.

"It's been really challenging but also it's been encouraging to myself to see what my God is actually doing."

It's understood Super Rugby's all-time leading try-scorer would have been allowed to resume playing again had he agreed to take down his latest controversial post.

"There have been many opportunities to potentially make the situation a little bit easier. I could go back and play the game, get everything back to the way it used to be," Folau said.

"The way Satan works is he offers you stuff that could look good to the eye and makes you feel comfortable, and if you follow that path all the worries and troubles will go away.

"(But) it is always the will of God that comes first."

The Wallabies star on Tuesday night took to his social media profiles on Instagram and Twitter to replace the previous image which showed him pointing to the sky while celebrating scoring a try for the Waratahs.

In its place the former NRL and AFL star has posted an image showing the No. 1 written in tiny words of "God" with the phrase "God First" at its centre.

The same image has also been posted as his new Twitter account photo.

Folau had earlier started the saga by warning sinners would be going to hell unless they repented with this Instagram post:

Radio Sport Mornings

Radio Sport Mornings

9AM - 12PM