Israel Folau’s landmark code of conduct hearing finally concluded on Tuesday, with a decision only expected in the coming days.
The hearing resumed in the Sydney CBD after Folau’s legal team had spent the weekend arguing his case at Rugby Australia’s headquarters.
Rugby Australia admitted that the three-person panel was not expected to reach a final decision on Tuesday, but was hopeful the severity of any breach of Folau’s four-year, $4m contract would be determined.
The outcome of the hearing could range from Folau being free to return to training and playing with the Waratahs, up to termination, with fines or suspensions, also options depending on the verdict. If there is no settlement, it is likely either Folau or RA will appeal any decision, meaning a second code of conduct hearing – with a new independent panel – will be required.
Folau was stood down by Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union on 12 April. He was served a notice of termination following his latest controversial social media posts in which he targeted ‘drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators’ and warned: ‘Hell awaits you’.
His employers deemed Folau’s actions as a high-level code of conduct breach. The 30-year-old was given 48 hours to accept the sanction or have the matter referred to a code of conduct hearing, which he ultimately opted for.
Photo: EPA/Bianca de Marchi