Mon 6 May 2019 | 11:43

New twist as Folau senior enters the fray

New twist as Folau senior enters the fray
Mon 6 May 2019 | 11:43
New twist as Folau senior enters the fray

DEVELOPING NEWS: Israel Folau’s code of conduct hearing isn’t expected to produce a result when it goes into a third day.

Folau’s future remains unclear.

The hearing will resume on Tuesday at a venue in the Sydney CBD, after the first two days were conducted at Rugby Australia headquarters.

In the latest twist, Folau’s father has defended his son’s right to express his religious beliefs, but indicated the star fullback will accept the outcome of a hearing into his dismissal over social media comments.

Rugby Australia has charged the devoutly Christian player with a breach of his contract, after he posted biblical quotes on social media.

Folau, who now looks certain to miss this year’s World Cup, has been unrepentant, insisting his life was dedicated to God, and his father Eni supported his right to cite passages from the Bible.

“Israel does not do any wrong at all,” he was quoted Monday as telling reporters at a Pentecostal service he led on Sunday at a Sydney church.

“All the words he posted up has not come from him, it’s come from the Bible.

“I talked to him, and he said whatever God’s decision to his life, he will accept.”


Folau, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, and Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle have all given evidence at the hearing, along with NSW Rugby boss Andrew Hore.

The three-member panel, chaired by employment law expert John West, will decide what punishment, if any, is appropriate – ranging
from a fine to a suspension, or the sack.

Folau’s legal team reportedly argued that Rugby Australia did not include a social media clause in the lucrative four-year contract he signed this year, and stressed that his posts were merely quoting the Bible.

The governing body was expected to counter that even if there was no clause, he seriously breached its broader code of conduct and inclusion policy, with his views damaging the sport.

Folau’s cousin Josiah insisted the Wallabies star was speaking from a position of love, not hate.

“He didn’t post the post or say what he said out of malice, it’s words that come straight from the Bible,” he was quoted as saying at the same church service.

“The important thing for us is not so much the outcome but that the glory of God is revealed through this situation and that his truth is preached to the whole world.”

Plenty is at stake – Folau faces an end to his glittering career, while the hearing could leave Rugby Australia with a major financial headache if forced to pay out his AU$4 million contract.

Legal experts have warned that whatever happens, there will likely be an appeal and potentially a long and costly court battle.
The case has proved complex and divisive, pitting Folau’s right to free speech and freedom of expression against the offence he has caused to others.

Several Pacific Island-origin players have supported Folau, while others have been critical.

Folau’s franchise and Wallabies’ teammate Ned Hanigan says the NSW Waratahs understand the process and aren’t being distracted by it despite their recent poor form.

Sources: AFP & AAP

Related articles:

Folau’s hearing forced into a third day
Cheika testifies as Folau hearing continues
Folau case could drag on for years
VIDEO: Australian Rugby on religious time bomb

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