A Rugby Australia hearing has found Israel Folau guilty of a high-level breach of conduct.
The 30 year old faced a three-strong panel which met for three days to discuss his case. The meeting was a result of his controversial social media posts last month.
Folau stated on Instagram that hell awaits drunks, homosexuals and adulterers. His solicitor and barrister argued that this was a bible passage and not his direct words. The post remains on his Instagram page.
The decision allows the governing body to terminate the player’s contract. Declaring it anything less than a high-level offence would have allowed Folau to see out the remainder of his current deal.
Folau is understood to have rejected an offer of AUS$ 1 million – a year’s salary – to walk away. He will not now receive any payout. His contract runs until 2022.
The full back has earned 73 caps for the Wallabies and looked set to feature at this year’s World Cup. However, national coach Michael Cheika says that Folau is unlikely to play for Australia again. His career with Waratahs also looks over.
Cheika was among those who gave evidence at the hearing. Waratahs chief executive Andrew Hore also attended.
A statement from Rugby Australia confirmed the findings. It also explained the next steps before Folau learns the full extent of his punishment.
“The panel will now take further written submissions from the parties to consider the matter of sanction”, added the statement. “A further update with be provided after the panel delivers its decision on sanction.”
Written by Colin Renton