Infotainment Factory: How Rugby Australia botched Folau contract

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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

How Rugby Australia botched Folau contract


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Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle ditched a late attempt to have Israel Folau sign a contract addendum prohibiting offensive social media use, a report says.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Castle had intended to present Folau with the addendum during a meeting in London last November, one month after he had signed a new $4 million, four-year contract.

It never happened. Folau was first presented with the addendum the day after signing his contract, October 10, but was advised against signing it by his agent, Isaac Moses.

The Herald also revealed that the addendum would have breached the collective bargaining agreement, as it had not been cleared with the Rugby Union Players' Association; leaving Rugby Australia vulnerable to a legal challenge by Folau.

Such an addendum, had Folau signed it, would have given Rugby Australia the right to terminate his contract immediately, rather than becoming mired in the ongoing hearing process. Folau is still expected to be sacked, perhaps as early as Thursday, but can still appeal and later take legal action thanks to the lack of clear prohibitions on homophobic social media use.

The failure to have Folau sign an addendum happened despite the Wallabies superstar having already attacked gay people on social media last year. After his April rant at gay and transgender people, Rugby Australia has been left to rely on standard contract terms enforcing its code of conduct.

The Herald reported that Castle's role in the Folau scandal would be heavily scrutinised, with the superstar intent on being paid-out his $4 million deal; or at least a significant portion. Folau has reportedly already rejected settlement offers, with the hardline Christian believing that he did nothing wrong.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle ditched a late attempt to have Israel Folau sign a contract addendum prohibiting offensive social media use, a report says.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Castle had intended to present Folau with the addendum during a meeting in London last November, one month after he had signed a new $4 million, four-year contract.

It never happened. Folau was first presented with the addendum the day after signing his contract, October 10, but was advised against signing it by his agent, Isaac Moses.

The Herald also revealed that the addendum would have breached the collective bargaining agreement, as it had not been cleared with the Rugby Union Players' Association; leaving Rugby Australia vulnerable to a legal challenge by Folau.

Such an addendum, had Folau signed it, would have given Rugby Australia the right to terminate his contract immediately, rather than becoming mired in the ongoing hearing process. Folau is still expected to be sacked, perhaps as early as Thursday, but can still appeal and later take legal action thanks to the lack of clear prohibitions on homophobic social media use.

The failure to have Folau sign an addendum happened despite the Wallabies superstar having already attacked gay people on social media last year. After his April rant at gay and transgender people, Rugby Australia has been left to rely on standard contract terms enforcing its code of conduct.

The Herald reported that Castle's role in the Folau scandal would be heavily scrutinised, with the superstar intent on being paid-out his $4 million deal; or at least a significant portion. Folau has reportedly already rejected settlement offers, with the hardline Christian believing that he did nothing wrong.

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