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Rugby Union: Folau sacked and Vunipola warned

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw Israel Folau has been sacked by Australia Rugby Union (ARU) for his homophobic remarks and Billy Vunipola has received a formal warning from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for defending his remarks. Folau, a Christian Fundamentalist, posted in April a banner on his Instagram account declaring: “Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators – Hell awaits you.” A three-person ARU Panel, at a hearing requested by Folau, who had a deal until 2022, found him guilty of a “high level breach” of the ARU Players’ Code of Conduct. He has seventy-two hours in which to file an appeal. On the other hand, Vunipola was given a formal warning by the RFU for supporting Folau’s remarks. Welsh referee, Nigel Owens, who is himself gay and will officiate at the forthcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year, supported the stance taken by the ARU and told the BBC: “I respect their religion, I respect their beliefs and all I would like to ask is that they respect other people’s way of life…..” And added: “It’s a shame that it’s gone to this and none of us should take any pleasure in the fact that somebody has lost his job and lost his career.” A big price for Folau to pay for his beliefs, but sport should be an all-inclusive activity that embraces all lifestyles and all sexual orientations! Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports feature: articles; comparative surveys; commentaries on topical sports legal and tax issues and documentation.

The unique feature of Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports is that this Journal combines for the first time up to-date valuable and must-have information on the legal and tax aspects of sport and their interrelationships.

The Editors

The editors of  the Journal Sports Law & Taxation are Professor Ian Blackshaw and Dr Rijkele Betten, with specialist contributions from the world's leading practitioners and academics in the sports law and taxation fields.

The Editors

Managing editor
Dr. Rijkele Betten

Consulting editor
Prof. Dr. Ian S. Blackshaw

Editorial board

Prof. Guglielmo Maisto
Maisto e Associati, Milano

Dr. Dick Molenaar
All Arts Tax Advisors, Rotterdam


Mr. Kevin Offer
Hardwick & Morris LLP, London

Mr. Mario Tenore
Maisto e Associati, Milano


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