Israel Folau and Rugby Australia’s Code of Conduct hearing - the likely legal arguments
On 10 April 2019, Australian rugby player Israel Folau wrote on Instagram that hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters.” Rugby Australia subsequently announced that Folau’s comments breached the game’s Code of Conduct (the Code) and, having previously warned Folau about his behaviour on social media, that they would now be seeking to terminate his four-year contract of employment signed only last year and worth a purported $4million. Folau, exercising his right under the Code, has sought a full Code of Conduct Committee Hearing (the Hearing) of the matter. What are the legal arguments likely to be made at the Hearing, now scheduled for May 4?
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- Tags: Australia | Australian Human Rights Commission | Dispute Resolution | Employment | Human Rights | International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights | RA Code of Conduct | Regulation | Rugby Australia | Rugby Union
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About the Author
Jack Anderson is a Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne where he teaches criminal law, the law of torts and sports law.
Jack has published widely in the area of sports law and including monographs such as The Legality of Boxing (Routledge 2007) and Modern Sports Law (Hart 2010) and edited collections such as Landmark Cases in Sports Law (Asser 2013) and EU Sports Law (Edward Elgar 2018). He was Editor-in-Chief of the International Sports Law Journal based at the International Sports Law Centre at the Asser Institute from 2013 to 2016. He is Honorary Member of the Centre for Sports Law, Sports Policy and Sports Diplomacy, University of Riejeka, Croatia and an external examiner at the University of Malaya.
An accredited workplace mediator and a Chartered Arbitrator, (CArb). Jack is an arbitrator on the international panel for Sport Resolutions UK and World Athletics’ Disciplinary Tribunal. Jack is a member of International Hockey Federation’s Integrity Unit and a founding member of the Asia Racing Federation’s Anti-Illegal Betting Taskforce. In Australia, Jack sits on the disciplinary tribunal of the Football Federation of Victoria and for Basketball Australia. In 2019, Jack was appointed by the Victoria government to the Board of Harness Racing Victoria. He is Vice-President of Gaelic Games Victoria.
From 2016-2019, he was a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and appeared on the list of arbitrators of the CAS Ad hoc Division for the UEFA EURO 2016 (European football championships). He was the sole CAS arbitrator at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. In 2019, he was appointed to the International Tennis Federation’s Ethics Commission and was asked by the Australian government to chair the advisory committee to prepare for the establishment of a national sports tribunal. In 2020, he was appointed as a member of the National Sports Tribunal of Australia.