Troubled Wallaby Kurtley Beale was last night found guilty by an ARU tribunal of a serious code of conduct violation and fined $45,000.
But the five-hour ARU tribunal hearing stopped short of ending Beale’s career, choosing not to suspend him for sending inappropriate text messages to (and about) former team staff member Di Patston. Beale left Rugby HQ in Sydney with a lighter wallet and, probably, a sense of relief that he remains on contract and is still in contention for the spring tour of Europe (already under way) if a replacement is needed.
The tribunal found it could not be proved that Beale had sent one of the inappropriate texts but was satisfied a breach of conduct had occurred. Speaking after the hearing, ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said “This was deemed a serious violation by the tribunal and as such, we intend to donate the $45,000 collected through this fine to a suitable organisation that promotes the empowerment of women.”
The ARU will now resume suspended discussions with Beale about his contract – it expires this year and there is no guarantee it will be renewed.
Beale did not front the waiting media, but issued a statement in which he again apologised for sending one offensive text and saying he was satisfied with a fair outcome from the hearing. “I’m also happy the evidence presented to the tribunal did not establish that I sent the second text and photograph,” he said. “This is why I fought so hard to prove my innocence regarding that text.
“I’m relieved there is no termination and no suspension and I can now continue playing rugby.”
It is now up to the Wallabies’ new coach, Michael Cheika, to decide if Beale will belatedly joins the spring tour. The opening match is at Twickenham, London, where they will face the Barbarians. After the Barbarians match they play Wales, France, Ireland and England. – Ashley Kearney
Top photo of Kurtley Beale from RugbyStreaming’s Flickr photostream.