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11 Apr, 2019 11:35

Rugby Australia set to terminate Israel Folau contract after 'homophobic' rant controversy

Rugby Australia set to terminate Israel Folau contract after 'homophobic' rant controversy

The 73-times-capped Israel Folau is set to be sacked by both Rugby Australia and New South Wales Rugby over a social media post which said "hell awaits" gay people, likely ending his chances of playing in this year's World Cup.

Folau, who is considered to be one of sport's most productive attacking talents, has been criticized for his views on homosexuality on numerous occasions, but his latest diatribe appears to have been the final straw for Australian rugby's governing bodies after receiving a warning for similar statements last year.

READ MORE: Australian rugby star Israel Folau ‘enjoyed’ controversy over anti-gay comments

"As a code we have made it clear to Israel formally and repeatedly that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action. In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract," a statement released by Rugby Australia on Thursday read.

Also on rt.com ‘Hell awaits you’: Rugby star Israel Folau again at center of anti-gay slur row

They also said that repeated attempts have been made to contact Folau since the social media message was posted on Wednesday and, to this point, the player has failed to make contact with either organization.

"Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs employee is that he cannot share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality."

Folau wrote on Instagram on Wednesday that "hell awaits" all "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters."

"Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him," he wrote.

Folau, who plays on the wing or at fullback, was expected to be a key part of Australia boss Michael Cheika's pursuit of the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year. Excellent under a high ball, Folau is also one of the sport's best open-field runners. Last weekend, he broke the all-time Super Rugby try-scoring record.

READ MORE: Wallabies star Folau rekindles anti-gay controversy again after sharing ‘homophobic’ video

However, his career has been dogged by controversy due to a series of comments which had led to several of Rugby Australia's sponsors threatening to withdraw their support.

Folau signed a four-year extension to his contract in March which was set to run to 2022.