Qantas Chief Says He Is 'Quite Happy' About Israel Folau Ruling
The head of Rugby Australia's biggest sponsor says he is "quite happy" with the organisation's tough ruling against Israel Folau.
The star fullback was found guilty of a high-level breach of Rugby Australia's (RA) code of conduct on Tuesday, following controversial and homophobic social media posts last month.
RA chief Raelene Castle and her board have moved to terminate Folau's $4 million contract over the posts, in which he claimed gay people would "end up in hell".
“We don’t sponsor something to get involved in controversy. That’s not part of the deal,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, told the Australian Financial Review.
“We expect our partners to take the appropriate action. It’s their issue, they have to deal with it’’
Joyce, who gay, said the situation was not an issue for Qantas, but an issue for "every potential sponsor for Rugby Australia".
“They have to manage it … and shame on you if it happens a second time. That’s the way we approach it in the aviation industry, and we expect these organisations to be the same.”
Rugby Australia's major sponsors are Qantas, ASICS and Land Rover. On Wednesday, ASICS dropped Folau as an ambassador, saying his views do not represent the brand.
Folau's lawyers debated for almost 22 hours over three days with the governing body's legal team, before an independent three-person panel came to their verdict.
Had the panel deemed his breach anything less than "high level", the governing body would not have the power to boot him.
Castle said Folau was warned "formally and repeatedly" about the expectations on him as a player, following similar social media posts from last year.
"It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action," Castle said.
Folau will not be among the quad of around 40 players participating in a pre-World Cup camp in Brisbane next Sunday.
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