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Israel Folau opts not to appeal Rugby Australia sacking

The Guardian logo The Guardian 20/05/2019 Guardian sport and agencies
Israel Folau wearing a yellow shirt: Israel Folau has decided not to appeal the termination of his four-year, $4m contract by Rugby Australia. © EPA Israel Folau has decided not to appeal the termination of his four-year, $4m contract by Rugby Australia.

Israel Folau has decided not to appeal against Rugby Australia’s decision to tear up his four-year, $4m contract for his recent social media posts, but a protracted legal battle in the courts remains a possibility. 

The former Wallabies star had 72 hours to lodge an appeal after an independent panel last week ruled in favour of RA’s decision to terminate his employment after he posted on social media that hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers” and others.

With no contact from Folau by the time that window expired on Monday afternoon, RA issued a statement to confirm the player’s employment had been officially terminated.

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

“The 72-hour window for Israel Folau to appeal this high-level code of conduct breach and sanction has expired,” an RA statement read. “As Folau has not notified the panel of his intention to appeal, the code of conduct process has now formally concluded.

“With the code of conduct matter complete, Folau’s employment contract will be terminated.”

Folau has not yet indicated his next move, and it is not known whether he will accept the loss of his lucrative contract or now pursue the matter in court, as has been speculated.

REUTERS/Toby Melville © Getty REUTERS/Toby Melville

Last Friday’s decision came after Folau had been warned against making such posts before signing his new contract last year. He had previously posted that hell awaited homosexuals unless they repented.

Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle said at the time the decision would have ramifications across the sporting world.

(ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

“This is a decision that will change the landscape for sport across Australia and perhaps internationally,” she said. “It will be landmark, it will be important, and it is a big decision.

“He is a very important player in our game and he has been for a long period of time and we wanted to make sure we took the time to get it right.”

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Related: Rugby's most controversial moments [Read Sport]

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