Israel Folau: Australia end player's contract over anti-gay message

Ruben Hill
April 15, 2019

Rugby Australia intends to terminate his contract following his social media post on Twitter and Instagram last week, which proclaimed homosexuals, drunks and atheists, among others, would go to hell unless they repented.

Folau's remarks make it hard for Cheika to envision the 30-year-old being part of the Wallabies' plans for the tournament in Japan, starting in September, should he avoid being sacked by RA.

Speaking after a sermon that reportedly offered the under-fire star support, calling him persecuted for his beliefs several times, Folau said his faith outweighed his desire to keep his position on the national team or for the Waratahs.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says Israel Folau's "disrespectful" social media posts nearly make it impossible to pick the star full-back for this year's Rugby World Cup.

"Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs employee is that he can not share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality".

"Getting out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team's about".

"When you play in the gold jersey, we represent everyone in Australia - everyone". We don't pick and choose.

His unchanged stance means it is unlikely that Folau will feature for the Wallabies this summer at the Rugby World Cup, particularly as sponsors have taken notice of the controversy. "We want everyone there fighting with us and standing with us".

He had tried unsuccessfully to contact him for an explanation.

"I felt that I needed to talk to him about why, and I haven't had that chance as yet".

'That's the message that I'm trying to share, even though it comes across as harsh.

In a statement, Rugby Australia said its integrity unit deemed that Folau had committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players' Code of Conduct warranting termination of his employment contract.

When asked if he would walk away from rugby over his anti-gay views, he responded: "Absolutely".

He added: "I can't change what the word of God says". Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first, ' he said.

Folau, who signed a four-year deal with the Waratahs in March and had a deal with Rugby Australia until 2022, escaped punishment for similar comments last year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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