English Rugby
John Steele Timeline
ESPNscrum Staff
June 10, 2011

John Steele left his role as chief executive of the Rugby Football Union on Friday in the wake of the controversy over the appointment of the organisation's new performance director.

Here is a timeline of events which led to the announcement of Steele's departure.

June 2010: Steele is announced as the successor to Francis Baron as RFU chief executive. The appointment of the former Northampton and England A fly-half is hailed as a progressive move.

December 1: Steele sends a letter to England squad members warning them that they risk missing out on selection if they choose to ply their trade outside England. The news does not prevent Jonny Wilkinson signing a new deal with Toulon later the same month.

January 6, 2011: Steele announces a radical organisational restructuring of the RFU which includes the establishment of a new rugby department split into three sections: performance, operations and development. The plans scrap Rob Andrew's role as director of elite rugby and lead many to name World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward as the favourite for the performance role.

March 2011: Andrew, who was encouraged to throw his hat into the ring for the operations role, is successful in his application and is appointed. The RFU also reveal Steve Grainger will become their rugby development officer. The naming of the performance director is delayed as some candidates were unable to attend interviews due to "rugby commitments."

May 10, 2011: The RFU reveal changes to the job specification for the performance director role, removing any involvement with the senior England side. The job now only extends up as far as the England Saxons, with the major focus being to help nurture talent ahead of the 2015 World Cup in this country. Many see the move as a means of ruling Woodward out of the running.

May 12, 2011: The RFU perform a rapid u-turn as the board reconvene to reverse the decision to alter the job specification, which returns to its original form.

May 13, 2011: RFU chairman Martyn Thomas and Steele hold a meeting at Twickenham, with the pair sending a joint-note to RFU council members to re-iterate support for Steele's planned reforms.

May 19, 2011: Woodward rules himself out of the running for the job and commits himself to his role with the British Olympic Association.

May 24, 2011: The RFU board, without Steele, launch an investigation into the recruitment process.

June 10, 2011: Steele leaves his role with the RFU following an emergency board meeting.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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