The rugby players’ union (RUPA) is to set up a committee to review how players can express their faith and beliefs after the Israel Folau sacking saga.
RUPA said on Monday the decision to tear up Folau’s Rugby Australia contract was “a sad outcome for Israel, his family, friends, teammates, opponents and all associated with rugby in Australia and around the world.”
It also said Rugby Australia had not yet provided any clear parameters to the players specifying how it expects them to express their faith and beliefs in a way it considers acceptable.
“To address this, RUPA will immediately establish and undertake an Expression of Faith & Beliefs Review alongside its’ players, incorporating advice from those with and without strong religious beliefs,” RUPA said in a statement.
RUPA aimed to hold a first meeting of the review committee when the Super Rugby and World Sevens series seasons ended and planned to invite representatives of Rugby Australia and a Super Rugby, urging them to take part.
Folau was sacked for a high-level code breach for a religiously-motivated social media post which said hell awaits homosexuals, among others, after he had previously been warned following a similar post last year.
“RUPA appreciates the difficult position which this incident has placed on Israel’s teammates and the broader professional playing group, and we will continue to support each RUPA member,” it said.
“RUPA remains proud of its diverse playing group and is committed to empowering and supporting each of its members to have conviction to express their faith and beliefs confidently.
“Clearly, there remains a great deal of work to be done in relation to this subject, but what remains paramount and a non-negotiable is empowering all of RUPA’s members to feel confident in understanding their rights and their responsibilities when expressing their faith and beliefs.”
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