April 17, 2019 / 3:13 AM / in 4 days

Rugby-Australia's Folau asks for code of conduct hearing

SYDNEY, April 17 (Reuters) - Wallabies fullback Israel Folau has asked for a code of conduct hearing to be scheduled by Rugby Australia (RA) after the governing body said they intended to terminate his contract for controversial social media posts.

The 30-year-old Folau, a devout Christian, was issued a code of conduct breach notice on Monday following an investigation by RA’s integrity unit and had 48 hours to respond.

RA and the New South Wales Waratahs had both said they would terminate Folau’s contract if he did not provide a good enough reason for a social media post saying gay people would go to “hell” if they did not “repent”.

“Israel has responded formally today to request a code of conduct hearing which, under the circumstances, was not an unexpected outcome,” RA chief executive Raelene Castle said in a media release on Wednesday. “We will now work to confirm a date for the hearing as soon as possible.”

Folau has been stood down from all rugby activity by the Waratahs, while Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has said he would not pick him again due to the “disrespectful” social media posts.

RA added on Wednesday that they would work with the Rugby Union Players’ Association on the schedule of the hearing. However, with three public holidays observed over the next eight days in Australia, the process could be delayed. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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