UPDATES: Israel Folau Statements


6/06/2019



By NSW Rugby Media

RUGBY AUSTRALIA AND NSW RUGBY STATEMENT REGARDING ISRAEL FOLAU LEGAL ACTION


"Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union made the decision to pursue the termination of Israel Folau’s contract because of a serious breach of the Professional Players Code of Conduct.

“This is an issue of an employee and his obligations to his employers within the contract that he signed. He was bound by a Code of Conduct for all professional players in Australia that spells out clear guidelines and obligations regarding player behaviour, including respectful use of social media.

“An independent panel, having sat for 22 hours and heard testimony from several witnesses and reviewed over 1000 pages of evidence, determined that Israel’s conduct constituted a high-level breach of the Code of Conduct and ordered termination of his playing contract.

“It is important to make clear that Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby did not choose to be in a position where they are forced to divert significant resources to defend the ongoing legal action taken by Israel, but his action leaves the game with no choice.

“As a sport that is proud of the values of inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork that underpin our game globally and our Code of Conduct, we will defend those values and the right for all people to feel safe and welcome in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion or sexuality.

“We are grateful for the support from so many people from within our Rugby community, including the volunteers who are the guardians of the game’s values, from other sports and from the wider community here and around the world, who have supported our stance.

“We will remain focused on getting on with the job of building our game, supporting our teams, encouraging more people to play Rugby and upholding the values that generations of Wallabies and Waratahs have represented with pride."







Wallabies and Waratahs back Israel Folau has today been issued a sanction directing termination of his playing contract for his high-level breach of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct.

The three-member panel John West QC (Chair), Kate Eastman SC and John Boultbee AM provided its final written decision today relating to the Code of Conduct hearing over Folau’s social media posts on April 10, 2019.

New South Wales Rugby Union CEO, Andrew Hore said: “This has been a difficult time for our sport, for our fans, our players and our stakeholders.

“Israel has been a valuable member of the NSW Waratahs team since he started playing Rugby. While NSWRU is disappointed to lose a player of Israel’s calibre, rugby has a Code of Conduct and values that we must adhere to ensure that our game remains a game for all, no matter people’s background or beliefs.

“We too thank the tribunal panel for the time they have taken to consider this issue and respect their decision,” he said.

Folau has the option to appeal the panel’s determination of a high-level breach of the Code of Conduct and the sanction handed to him today. Under the Code, appeals must be lodged within 72 hours of receipt of the sanction.







The Code of Conduct hearing in the matter of Israel Folau has concluded in Sydney today.

A panel of John West QC (Chair), Kate Eastman SC, and John Boultee AM presided over the three-day hearing which commenced on May 4.

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.

The panel will now take further written submissions from the parties to consider the matter of sanction.

A further update will be provided after the panel delivers its decision on sanction.








Wallabies and NSW Waratahs back Israel Folau has today responded to a breach notice issued to him by Rugby Australia on Monday in relation to his social media posts on April 10.

Folau has requested the matter be referred to a Code of Conduct hearing.

Rugby Australia will now make arrangements with the Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA) to bring together the Code of Conduct hearing.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said: "Israel has responded formally today to request a Code of Conduct hearing which, under the circumstances, was not an unexpected outcome. We will now work to confirm a date for the hearing as soon as possible.

"After the date for the hearing is confirmed Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union will make no further comment on the matter until the Code of Conduct process has concluded."










Israel FOlau issued breach notice



Wallabies and NSW Waratahs fullback Israel Folau has today been served with a breach notice over his posts on social media platforms Twitter and Instagram on April 10.

The Rugby Australia Integrity Unit deemed that Folau had committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players’ Code of Conduct warranting termination of his employment contract.

Folau has 48 hours to accept the sanction or have the matter referred to a Code of Conduct hearing.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said: “At its core, this is an issue of the responsibilities an employee owes to their employer and the commitments they make to their employer to abide by their employer’s policies and procedures and adhere to their employer’s values.

“Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations. It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.

“All professional Rugby players in Australia are bound by the Code of Conduct and there is a process in place for any disciplinary matter. We appreciate that this particular matter will attract significant interest, but due process must be followed.”







NSW Rugby Union has stood down Israel Folau from all player duties with the NSW Waratahs until further notice.







Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union have met with Israel Folau in Sydney today.

As the meeting was held in confidence between the player and his employers, Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union will not comment on the discussions at the meeting.

Following today’s meeting the two organisations will update their respective Boards on the matter to consider next steps.

Our joint position regarding Israel Folau is unchanged.







Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle and NSW Rugby Union CEO, Andrew Hore have issued the following statement in relation to Israel Folau.

"Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union have made repeated attempts to contact Israel both directly and via his representatives since 6.30pm on Wednesday, and at this point he has failed to communicate directly with either organisation.

"Whilst Israel is entitled to his religious beliefs, the way in which he has expressed these beliefs is inconsistent with the values of the sport. We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts.

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

"Rugby is a sport that continuously works to unite people. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome in our game and no vilification based on race, gender, religion or sexuality is acceptable and no language that isolates, divides or insults people based on any of those factors can be tolerated.

"As a code we have made it clear to Israel formally and repeatedly that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.

"In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract."


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