Israel Folau’s career in Australian rugby seems to be done and dusted, with a three-person panel ordering his contract be terminated.
The panel cited breach of the player’s code of conduct as the reasoning.
The same panel ruled earlier this month that Folau had committed a “high-level breach” of the player’s code through the posting of offensive Instagram posts which targeted “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters”.
It was decided today that his $4 million AUD contract would be torn up.
Chief executive of Rugby Australia (RA) Raelene Castle said that “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 the course of action resulting in today’s outcome,”
She added that “People need to feel safe and welcomes in the game, regardless of their race, background or sexuality.”
Folau has 72 hours in which he can appeal the panel’s decision. There are rumours he plans to take the case to the supreme court and make challenge regarding his implied right to free speech.
It now appears that Folau’s professional career in sport is now up in the air. A move to a Japanese or European rugby is possible but not guaranteed.
While he started his career in the NRL, he can’t go back there as last month the league ruled that Folau did not meet the standards of their “inclusiveness culture”.
Ms Castle said that she can’t see a future for Folau in Australian football “while the post remains up and his is unapologetic for his actions”.
She went on to point out that many players have quoted Bible passages and other religious material on their public social media profiles and that RA was “completely supportive of that”, dismissing the idea that Folau has been targeted because of his faith.