Israel Folau guilty of 'high-level breach' of Rugby Australia's code of conduct
Last Updated: 16/05/19 6:30pm
Israel Folau has been adjudged to have committed a "high-level breach" of Rugby Australia's code of conduct with his anti-LGBT social media posts.
Folau, a fundamentalist Christian, faced a three-member panel over three days of hearings to decide whether he had breached the code of conduct with an Instagram post which read: "Warning. Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators. Hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves."
He also took to Twitter to criticise Tasmania's decision to become Australia's first state to make it legally optional to list gender on birth certificates, posting that "the devil has blinded so many people in this world" in April.
"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.
"The panel will now take further written submissions from the parties to consider the matter of sanction."
RA and Folau's Super Rugby side, the New South Wales Waratahs, have already publicly committed to terminating the player's contract.
Folau argued that his contentious social media post contained a passage from the bible.
The 30-year-old's trial has stretched far beyond the rugby pitch, triggering a wider debate about freedom of speech and the power of employers to control their employees away from the workplace.
Folau played 73 Test matches for Australia and in his most recent match for the Waratahs, 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.