The Australian Rugby Union today announced Qantas Wallaby Kurtley Beale has been found guilty of breaching team protocols and fined $3,000, following an ARU Integrity investigation into a verbal altercation with members of the Wallaby management team on a flight on 28 September 2014.
The incident was deemed to be a moderate breach of team protocols and the ARU Integrity investigation found Beale guilty of inappropriate public behaviour as a result of being rude and disrespectful of Wallaby management in public.
The investigation by the ARU’s Integrity Unit into the in-flight argument was separate from the investigation into Beale’s distribution of an offensive text message which warranted a Code of Conduct Tribunal hearing last week.
The timing of the hearing was determined by the Tribunal, following a request by Beale’s lawyers for additional time to prepare their case.
The Tribunal found Beale guilty of a serious violation of the ARU Code of Conduct and Beale was fined $45,000 for the offence.
Australian Rugby Union Chairman Michael Hawker said the ARU had now concluded both investigations and said that proper processes in line with the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Rugby Union Players’ Association had comprehensively dealt with both offences.
“There has been significant public debate about these offences and significant criticism of the ARU’s management of the issues. We have carefully investigated the offences, evaluated all available evidence and applied proper process to ensure that the judgements have been arrived at fairly and impartially.”
“While the Code of Conduct Tribunal hearing was pending, we chose not to engage in public speculation or promote unsubstantiated claims, to respect the integrity and confidentiality of the Tribunal and Integrity Unit processes.
The ARU has today published a summary of these events which is available at www.rugby.com.au.
The ARU will re-open negotiations with Kurtley Beale regarding his future in Australian Rugby when his current contract expires at the end of this year, with all contractual arrangements to remain confidential.
“The ARU is deeply disappointed that an offensive text message was sent, the in-flight incident occurred and the aftermath of these events were factors in the resignations of Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie and Business Manager Di Patston. There is no basis on which it was acceptable for Ms Patston to have been subjected to the offensive text message.
“As a result of these events, we have identified a need for greater off-field leadership and support for the Wallabies. ARU General Manager Pathways & Performance Ben Whitaker is providing that support for the current Spring Tour with a longer term solution to be determined after the tour.
“Our focus now is on building on the significant achievements of the past couple of years, supporting the growth of Rugby in Australia and celebrating the major upcoming events including this weekend’s Buildcorp National Rugby Championship final in Brisbane and the Spring Tour for the Qantas Wallabies which starts tomorrow at Twickenham,” Mr Hawker said.