Beale fined over mid-flight row

2014-10-31 07:33
Kurtley Beale (Getty Images)

Sydney - Troubled Australia back Kurtley Beale has been fined Aus$3 000 ($2 650) over a mid-flight row linked to the resignations of coach Ewen McKenzie and a staff member, officials said on Friday.

The sanction comes a week after Beale was also slapped with a Aus$45 000 penalty for sending an offensive text message to business manager Di Patston, who later resigned.

An Australian Rugby Union integrity unit investigation found the playmaker was guilty of inappropriate behaviour by being rude and disrespectful to Wallaby management on a flight from South Africa to Argentina last month.

The ARU said the latest investigation was separate from the probe into Beale's distribution of the text message, which went before a Code of Conduct tribunal hearing last Friday.

"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," ARU chairperson Michael Hawker said in a statement.

"There is no basis on which it was acceptable for Ms Patston to have been subjected to the offensive text message."

The Beale affair has been damaging to Australian rugby with McKenzie abruptly quitting as coach, after speculation over internal dissent and his relationship with Patston.

Patston also resigned, citing stress, and she later said the controversy had driven her to contemplate suicide.

Michael Cheika was rushed in to replace McKenzie before the Wallabies departed for their European tour and he will take charge of his first game against the Barbarians on Saturday.

Cheika has scotched moves to add Beale to the touring party, saying there was "no desperation" to include him.

Beale, who previously wrestled with alcohol problems, has escaped suspension and the ARU said it would reopen negotiations when his contract expires at the end of this year.

One newspaper has described the embarrassing saga as Australian rugby's "greatest day of shame", with the ARU coming under fire for its handling of the controversy.

Hawker said: "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."

Read more on:    aru  |  rugby

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