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April 16, 2019

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Folau sack threat over gay slurs

Israel Folau’s career was hanging by a thread yesterday as the star Wallabies fullback was given 48 hours to respond to a code-of-conduct breach notice or be sacked over anti-gay comments.

The deeply religious 30-year-old sparked uproar last week for a social media post saying “Hell awaits” homosexuals. He was embroiled in a similar row last year, but has stood by his comments and said he was prepared to choose his faith over rugby.

Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle moved to sack him, saying he had been repeatedly warned about his social media use but ignored the overtures and refused to apologize on Friday. As such, his actions were considered “a high-level breach” of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct which she said warranted termination of his employment contract. He has 48 hours to either accept the sanction or have the matter referred to a hearing. Folau has indicated he plans to fight to save his career.

“Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations,” said Castle. “It was made clear to him that any social media posts that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.”

If Folau opts for a code of conduct hearing, an independent three-person tribunal would hear the case and determine whether he has made a breach and, if so, what punishment is appropriate.

Folau posted a banner on Instagram last week that read: “Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators — Hell awaits you.”

It remains online and has attracted 40,000 likes.




 

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