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NSW boss expresses Folau concerns

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Rugby Australia poised to serve Folau contractual breach notice in next 24 hours - reports

New South Wales rugby bosses have warned that it would be disaster for the sport if it was dragged through a drawn-out court battle with Israel Folau.

Rugby Australia are reportedly poised to slap the Wallabies star with a contractual breach notice as early as Monday following last Wednesday’s controversial Instagram post that suggested homosexuals and other groups – including drunks and atheists – were destined for hell. But rugby officials fear getting clogged up by months of litigation if Folau contests his likely dismissal.

The Sydney Morning Herald are reporting that Folau will have 48 hours to respond and request a code of conduct hearing following the receipt of a contractual breach notice. However, it’s unlikely any hearing will take place this week due to Easter and the need to tie a three-person panel into running any hearing in the case.

The report goes on to speculate that a code of conduct hearing might not be the end of the issue, as Folau can appeal the outcome and even take the matter to court in a bid to be paid out millions of dollars.

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A courtroom battle would be far from ideal for RA and the Waratahs, with NSW Rugby Union chairman Roger Davis telling the Herald: “The last thing our code needs is months of litigation, with appeals and counter-appeals in the courts over this issue. That would be a disaster for the game and only reinforces the need for the right and fair processes to be followed up front.

“A lot of people think it will be resolved in two days but I don’t. We’ll have to wait and see how that all plays out. There are going to be no winners at the end of the day.

“Of course the outcome of the code of conduct process is uncertain and can’t be controlled as it is an independent process. But regardless I still think that is the right and fairest way to go and should avoid some of the potential problems we are now seeing with rugby league with Jack de Belin. [The NRL] evidently didn’t follow the agreed processes and thus regrettably now appear to have ended up in court.

“It begs the question – ‘can he [Folau] play (pending) the code of conduct (process)? We’ve suspended him for the time being and we’ll just wait and see what happens. You’ve got economic considerations, legal considerations. There could be an appeal, a counter appeal for a long period of time and he is still being paid. Either way there are a few more shoes to drop here.”

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Rugby Australia poised to serve Folau contractual breach notice in next 24 hours - reports