Israel Folau found guilty

SYDNEY. — Homophobic comments by Israel Folau amounted to a “high-level” breach of rugby’s code of conduct, a tribunal ruled yesterday, leaving the Wallabies star’s glittering career hanging in the balance.

The devoutly Christian Folau went to the hearing to challenge Rugby Australia’s intention to sack him from his lucrative four-year deal after he posted on social media that “hell awaits” gay people and others he says are sinners.

The governing body declared his actions a “high-level” breach, the only level that allows termination of a contract, and the three-person panel agreed after three days of legal wrangling.

Folau, Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika all gave evidence. A decision on his punishment has yet to be made, but it could range from the unlikely scenario of allowing him to return to training and playing with the NSW Waratahs, firing him, or issuing fines or suspensions.

“The panel has today provided a judgement that Israel Folau committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct with his social media posts on April 10, 2019,” Rugby Australia said. — AFP.

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