Homophobic posts cost Israel Folau another sponsorship deal

Former Wallabies coach Alan Jones has supported Israel Folau through the controversy

The rugby league issued Folau a code of conduct breach in April, CNN said, and he requested a hearing.

"While Israel Folau is entitled to his personal views, some of those expressed in recent social media posts are not aligned with those of ASICS", it added in a Facebook statement.

The rugby star, who is Christian, posted messages on Instagram and Twitter telling "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" that "hell awaits" unless they "repent".

An independent panel on Tuesday found Folau committed a 'high-level breach' of his RA contract after his controversial social media post last month.

Former Wallabies legend Toutai Kefu said he would "definitely" offer Israel Folau a chance to play for Tonga if Rugby Australia terminate his $4 million contract.

It is yet to emerge whether Folau will have his contract terminated after being found guilty of a high-level breach with an announcement on his sanction expected in the coming days.

The Wallabies star has been locked in talks with Rugby Australia since Saturday about whether he can keep his spot on the national side.

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'We will take this fight every inch of the way.

During the final leaders' debate on Wednesday (May 8), Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed support for both freedom of speech and employers' rights to enforce punishment for contract breaches, while Labor leader Bill Shorten expressed sympathy for Folau.

CNN said former Australia rugby coach Alan Jones wrote an opinion column for the Australian calling the situation "a rugby crisis which has morphed into a social crisis which will open big wounds in relation to freedom of speech and freedom of religion".

"What I stand for is we want a game that includes everyone" he said.

"I would say in a nutshell Israel loves the person, he hates the sin".

Jones noted that "if we're not free to articulate our religious beliefs and quote from the Bible, and if we're not free to speak for fear that someone affects a hurt or is part of the offence industry, if that's where we've reached in this country, we've reached a dark place and we are all at risk". Folau was warned a year ago after making a comment on social media saying that gay people would go to hell unless they repented, CNN added. "My head is held high".

Folau's playing fate rests in the hands of John West QC, Rugby Australia representative Kate Eastman SC and the RUPA-appointed John Boultbee.

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