As he awaits his code of conduct hearing with Rugby Australia this weekend, Israel Folau could yet be paid not to play by his employers.
That’s the theory from ex-Wallaby and sports administrator Pat Howard, who believes Folau is still in with a chance to save his $4 million contract.
Folau is set to face his employers in a bid to convince them not to terminate his contract after posting on social media that homosexuals, among other groups, were destined for hell unless they repented.
However, Howard, who played 20 tests for Australia between 1993 and 1997 and was high performance manager for Cricket Australia last year, said that the case to sack Folau was “murky” given that it is possible to still be paid while not being selected.
“I can’t see him playing again for Australia. [But] you can still be paid but not selected,” he told BBC.
“I’m sure they’re planning for him not to be involved. But I look at this differently.
“It’s the employment aspect. Unfortunately that will be protracted. You can still be paid but not selected. Selection and employment are two different things. It’s very murky.
“You shouldn’t be able to sack people for religious reasons, we all get that, but you also can’t just say things that vilify everybody. These two things absolutely contradict each other.
“That’s the real challenge. But a lot of the players have said the situation is not rectifiable, so I think that’s laid the platform.
“I never like writing anybody off ever, for anything. There’s got to be repercussions and then where he ends up, so be it.”
The saga surrounding Folau has led Wallabies coach Michael Cheika to eliminate the possibility of the 73-test veteran earning a call-up to this year’s World Cup squad, while other concerns about a divided dressing room within the Australian set-up regarding Folau’s views continue to linger.
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