Israel Folau says he still has a lot of rugby left in him and he’s keeping his legal options open after opting not to appeal the decision to tear up his multimillion-dollar Rugby Australia contract.
RA announced on Monday it would terminate the Wallabies fullback’s contract after the 72-hour deadline passed to appeal the sacking decision handed down by a three-person panel following a code of conduct hearing.
“My decision not to commence Rugby Australia’s appeal process is in no way an acceptance of the judicial panel’s findings,” Folau said later in a statement.
“I simply do not have confidence in Rugby Australia’s ability to treat me fairly or lawfully throughout this process.
“The messages of support from fans, players, former rugby administrators and the public have been humbling.
“I believe I still have a lot of rugby left in me and the potential impact of Rugby Australia’s decision on my reputation and my career is substantial.
“Ultimately, I need to do what is best for my family, my teammates and the fans, so I am considering all potential avenues open to me.”
It has been widely speculated that Folau would take the case to court.
He had been given until Monday afternoon to appeal his high-level code of conduct breach and sanction over his religiously-motivated but controversial social media posts.
“As Folau has not notified the panel of his intention to appeal, the code of conduct process has now formally concluded,” RA said on Monday.
“With the code of conduct matter complete, Folau’s employment contract will be terminated.”
Last Friday the three-person panel found Folau’s contract should be terminated after his Instagram posts, including one proclaiming hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters”.
That came after Folau had been warned against making such posts before signing his new contract last year. He’d previously posted that hell awaited homosexuals unless they repented.
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said at the time the decision would have ramifications across the sporting world.
“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.”