Folau asks for audience on social media posts



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Israel Folau requested a conduct hearing code after it was issued with a violation notification by Rugby Australia about its homophobic social media posts.

The integrity unit of the union determined that Folau had committed a "high-level breach of the Code of Conduct for Professional Players", guaranteeing termination of its employment contract, and it received 48 hours to accept the breach of contract of the union or a court hearing.

The 30-year-old Christian devotee said in his Instagram account last week that "hell waits" for "drunkards, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters."

RA said that Folau's request for a code of conduct is not "an unexpected result".

Chief Executive Raelene Castle said: "Israel has formally responded today to request a hearing code that, under the circumstances, was not an unexpected result. Now we will work to confirm a date for the hearing as soon as possible.

"After the date of the hearing is confirmed, Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union will not comment further on the matter until the code of conduct process is completed."

Wallabies was warned a year ago for making homophobic comments on social media, but escaped disciplinary action.

Having published similarly disaggregating views yet again, however, RA announced its intention to dismiss one of the sport's most talented players in a move that would alienate him from the World Cup.

Declaring on Monday that Folau was in breach of contract, Castle said: "Following last year's events, Israel has been warned formally and repeatedly about his expectations as a player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs regarding the use of social media and he has not fulfilled those obligations.

"It became clear to him that any social media messages or comments that are 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 for any disciplinary matter."

He was fired by Waratahs and his rugby career in Australia seems to have ended, while a return to his roots in the league was ruled out by the Australian Rugby League.

Europe's clubs will also be wary of hiring a player who has considerable baggage and even Toulon has rejected the possibility of offering an escape route.

The rush was felt in the northern hemisphere after England's number eight Billy Vunipola offered support for his vision in his own account on the Instagram, resulting in a formal warning from Rugby Football Union.

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