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John Mitchell has been ‘requested’ to report for duty at the Golden Lions Rugby Union headquarters in Johannesburg on Friday.

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This follows a statement from his management team, the Fordham Company, which claimed Mitchell has been found “not guilty” on all counts of misconduct levelled against him by the GLRU.

Lions CEO Ruben Moggee confirmed to this website that Mitchell has been ‘requested’ to attend a meeting at GLRU headquarters on Friday, but declined to comment on the Fordham claims – that the coach has been cleared of all charges.

“There will be no comment until after the meeting [on Friday],” was the terse response to a question, if the Fordham statement was accurate.

The latest development in the protracted arbitration saga – which started with Mitchell’s suspension in June – came on the same day that former South African Sevens captain Jonathan Mokuena became the first player to publicly speak out against Mitchell.

Mokuena said it will be the “biggest mistake” in the history of South African rugby if Mitchell is reinstated as Lions head coach. The loose forward, who played in almost 30 tournaments on the IRB Sevens World Series and captained South Africa for a season, went on to call the Kiwi a “demon”.

However, Mitchell’s management team is adamant he can resume his duties at the Lions without any problems.

“With his suspension formally lifted, Mitchell has been requested to return to work as Golden Lions head coach tomorrow [Friday, November 9],” his lawyer Brian Patterson, of Edwards Nathan Sonnenbergs, said in a statement.

Patterson said the GLRU had finally released its full findings and recommendations of the disciplinary chairperson, Peter Bam.

Patterson stressed that no further comment could be made on the subject at this stage, because of legal reasons.

“John  is elated with the outcome and feels that his position and reputation as an international coach has been fully vindicated,” said his management agency, the Fordham Company.

“He is looking forward to returning to Ellis Park as head coach to assist the Lions to achieve their full potential.”

The agency’s Chief Executive, John Fordham, said in the statement that Bam had made a number of “recommendations” relating to the restoring of the working relationships between Mitchell and the GLRU.

“John is committed to working hard together with the GLRU to address these issues going forward,” he Fordham said.

Fordham added that Mitchell’s legal representatives and the GLRU’s lawyers Erasmus Inc were engaged in discussions to address the resolution of certain underlying issues that gave rise to the complaints and to discuss Mitchell’s future with the union.

“John is committed to remaining in South Africa and in continuing in his position as head coach of the GLRU,” Fordham said, adding: “He’s looking forward to his return to the union tomorrow.”

3 Responses to John Mitchell to report for duty at the Lions tomorrow

  • 1

    Phweeew, I would have liked to be a fly on the wall in the meeting tomorrow between Mitchell and the Lions knobs.

    Surely for Mitchell to be head coach again would be an untennable situation… considering the player revolt against him.

    Question now is which Lions players will leave because of this… or will the talks be to the effect that a way is negotiated to give Mitchell a severance package?

  • 2

    1 @ grootblousmile:
    I thought this would happen, BUT, WTF are the Lions up to.

    Their HR team and lawyers should be booted into touch IMMEDIATELY.

    As for their supporter and media relations, I IMPLORE them, talk to us. PLEASE.

    You continually ask both supporters and the media not to write / say only negative things, BUT YOU GIVE US NOTHING!!!!!!!

    And please don’t try to fob us off with BS about the sensitivity of the JM issue. This absolutely terrible communication issue has been going on since at least 2006 when I became involved with club Rugby.

    As for JM. “Buy” his contract and move on with a new coaching team.

    As much as I liked him as a coach at the Lions, I think our youngsters have become a bunch of soft cocks that can’t take criticism, and frankly so have the GLRU management for not supporting their head coach and doing a thorough investigation before suspending him. If the team were sweeping all before them in SR and their was unhappiness, well maybe, but when you’re not pulling your weight as a player, YOU should be disciplined and receive a written warning for non-performance.

    To let John stay on now would be a VERY difficult situation for all at the Union.

    Having said that, ALL of the GLRU / Lions problems are of their own making.

  • 3

    Give me the Kings administrators anyday before these Lions muppets. Make WP and SA Rugby look like angels sent from heaven.


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