Aviva Premiership
John Mitchell wants Lions job back
ESPN Staff
November 5, 2012
Lions coach John Mitchell talks to the media, Lions press conference, Johannesburg Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa, May 31, 2012
John Mitchell was announced as a member of Sale's 'rugby strategy management board' last week © Getty Images

John Mitchell appears to have ruled himself out of a possible role with Aviva Premiership side Sale Sharks by revealing he wants his job back at the Johannesburg-based Lions.

The former Sale player and coach has long-been linked with a return to the club and last week was named on the club's 'rugby strategy management board' that was formed in the wake of a high-profile re-structuring that saw director of rugby Bryan Redpath made head coach and chief executive Steve Diamond take charge of the side.

A more hand-on role for Mitchell was reportedly in the pipeline with the former All Blacks coach hinting at a leadership role when pressed on the issue earlier this month. It was thought his appointment would follow the resolution of a dispute with his current employers - the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU). Mitchell was suspended from his post in June pending an investigation into an accusation of misconduct filed against the coach by a number of players.

However, Mitchell has now expressed his desire to remain with Lions having been found not guilty of various charges with a further six charges having been withdrawn by the GLRU. "I want my head coach position back at the Lions," said Mitchell. "There is some unfinished business to do with the Lions. Furthermore, I am determined that my future will be in South Africa".

The lengthy inquiry into the charges laid against Mitchell by the GLRU was chaired by an independent legal expert, Mr Peter Bam. "Even though John has been cleared of these particular allegations, the GLRU, through its lawyers, is not prepared to release details to John or his lawyers," said Mitchell's management, The Fordham Company.

"That's pretty amazing considering the damage that this action taken by the GLRU has done to John's reputation and brand. Furthermore, the GLRU's lawyers have advised John's lawyers that they are not prepared to release the findings and recommendations pertaining to the remaining nine charges brought against John unless John agrees to sign a confidentiality undertaking. One would have to question why this information is being withheld".

Mitchell's lawyers Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs is continuing to press for full disclosure from the GLRU law firm Erasmus Inc and have threatened an urgent application to Labour Court to secure the findings and recommendations.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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