Rugby Australia today confirmed they had ripped up Israel Folau's $4m contract over his homophobic rant on social media.
After weeks of closed door debate, negotiations and recriminations since Folau made a post saying all homosexuals would burn in hell, rugby bosses today ended the star's lucrative contract.
The three-member panel John West QC, Kate Eastman and John Boultbee today handed down their final verdict which sealed the devout Christian's sporting fate.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle said: “While Rugby Australia accepts the panel’s decision directing termination of Israel Folau’s playing contract for his high-level breach of the Code of Conduct, we want to stress that this outcome is a painful situation for the game.
“Rugby Australia did not choose to be in this situation, but Rugby Australia’s position remains that Israel, through his actions, left us with no choice but to pursue this course of action.
“This has been an extremely challenging period for rugby and this issue has created an unwanted distraction in an important year for the sport and for the Wallabies team.
"But our clear message to all rugby fans today is that we need to stand by our values and the qualities of inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork.
“I’ve communicated directly with the players to make it clear that Rugby Australia fully supports their right to their own beliefs and nothing that has happened changes that.
"But when we are talking about inclusiveness in our game, we’re talking about respecting differences as well.
“When we say rugby is a game for all, we mean it. People need to feel safe and welcomed in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion, or sexuality."
She added: “We thank the tribunal panel for their decision and we respect the time, consideration and expertise the panel members brought to this process.
“Representing Australia and all Australians on the rugby field is a privilege.
"Selection is dependent upon a player’s ability to contribute to the Wallabies, and the game of rugby itself, in a positive and consistent manner both on and off the field. When players sign a contract with the Wallabies, they sign up to the values of the team and the sport.
“Israel is a great rugby player and we are disappointed and saddened by the fact that he will not see out his four-year commitment to the Wallabies and Waratahs.”
The move also ends Folau's time with the Waratahs.
Andrew Hore, New South Wales Rugby Union CEO, added: “This has been a difficult time for our sport, for our fans, our players and our stakeholders.
“Israel has been a valuable member of the NSW Waratahs team since he started playing rugby.
“While NSWRU is disappointed to lose a player of Israel’s calibre, rugby has a Code of Conduct and values that we must adhere to ensure that our game remains a game for all, no matter people’s background or beliefs.
“We too thank the tribunal panel for the time they have taken to consider this issue and respect their decision.”
Folau can still appeal the panel’s determination of a high-level breach of the Code of Conduct and the sanction handed to him today. Under the Code, appeals must be lodged within 72 hours of receipt of the sanction.