Israel Folau decision could take days as panel retires to make final decision.
Israel Folau decision could take days as panel retires to make final decision.

Guilty: Folau’s rugby career on knife's edge

ISRAEL Folau's future in Australian rugby is looking increasingly grim after a independent panel determined that the Wallabies superstar committed a "high level" breach of his contract.

The three-person panel of chair John West QC, Rugby Australia representative Kate Eastman SC and the RUPA-appointed John Boultbee retiredon Tuesday afternoon to decide on a sanction for Folau.

RA boss Raelene Castle issued Folau with a breach notice last month following his controversial social media posts about homosexuals and other sinners and threatened to terminate his four-year, $4 million contract, an option the panel now has.

The outcome of the landmark hearing could range from Folau being free to return to training and playing with the NSW Waratahs up to termination, with fines or suspensions also options depending on the verdict.

The 30-year-old Folau appeared before the hearing to contest Rugby Australia's decision to terminate his contract after he posted in mid-April on social media that gay people, along with other "sinners," will face damnation unless they repent.

The hearing was originally scheduled for one day last Saturday, then was extended into Sunday.

It went into a third day on Tuesday.

It ended as the chairman of the New South Wales Waratahs, Folau's Super Rugby franchise, called for "common sense" and a settlement.

"This is a no-win situation for the game and fans and I'd like to see it resolved as quickly as possible," Roger Davis said.

"I think a settlement is a commonsense approach... it would be smart.

"If this goes for a long time there are definitely no winners."

It remains to be seen what will happen to Folau. Picture: Matrix Media Group
It remains to be seen what will happen to Folau. Picture: Matrix Media Group

There have also been reports that Folau was offered $1 million, the reported amount of his annual salary, as a settlement on the first day, but that he turned down the offer.

Folau has played 73 Test matches for Australia.

In his most recent match for the Waratahs, Folau scored his 60th try, the most of any player in Super Rugby, breaking the record of former New Zealand winger Doug Howlett.

In February, Folau signed a contract extension to remain with the Waratahs and Australian rugby until the end of 2022.

Folau, a devout Christian, has argued that his contentious social media post contained a passage from the bible.

 
News Corp Australia


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