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Israel Folau guilty of "high-level" conduct breach for homophobic post

Israel Folau guilty of
© Reuters
The Wallabies full-back faced a hearing after being issued with a breach notice by Rugby Australia over his homophobic social media posts.

Israel Folau has been found to have committed a "high-level breach" in his code of conduct hearing set by Rugby Australia over homophobic social media posts he made last month.

The 30-year-old devout Christian said on his Instagram account that "hell awaits" for "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators".

The Wallabies full-back requested a code of conduct hearing after he was issued with a breach notice by Rugby Australia, which would warrant the termination of his employment contract.

Israel Folau faces missing the World Cup (Adam Davy/PA)
Israel Folau faces missing the World Cup (Adam Davy/PA)

The three-day hearing ended with a three-person panel concluding "Folau committed a high-level breach of the Professional Players' Code of Conduct with his social media posts on April 10, 2019".

A statement from Rugby Australia continued: "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."

Folau, who has played 62 Tests for Australia since making his debut in 2013, was warned a year ago for making homophobic comments on social media, but escaped disciplinary action.

Having published similarly divisive views once again, however, Rugby Australia announced its intention to sack one of the sport's most gifted players in a move that would rule him out of the World Cup.

View this post on Instagram

Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

Folau has stood by his view in posts that remain visible and has said he would rather accept the end of his career than issue a retraction.

"It's obviously a decision that's in the process right now but I believe in a God that's in control of all things," he told the Sydney Morning Herald last month.

"Whatever His will is, whether that's to continue playing or not, I'm more than happy to do what He wants me to do."

Folau has been stood down by the NSW Waratahs and his rugby union career in Australia appears over, while a return to his roots in league has been ruled out by the Australian Rugby League.

The fallout has been felt in the northern hemisphere after England number eight Billy Vunipola offered support for his view on his own Instagram account, resulting in a formal warning from the Rugby Football Union.

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