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Rugby | SA Rugby

Reinstate me as Lions coach - Mitchell



Suspended Golden Lions coach John Mitchell has come out fighting to be reinstated as head coach of the Lions again, after he apparently was cleared of misconduct by an independent inquiry.

Mitchell’s management company, the Fordham Company, released a statement claiming Mitchell had been found not guilty of “various charges of misconduct levelled against him by the GLRU, with a further six charges having been withdrawn by the Johannesburg-based club.”

Mitchell was suspended by the Lions following claims by players of ill-treatment, while the Lions later added charges of bringing the union into disrepute over statements he made over their participation in the Super Rugby tournament.

But Mitchell said he had turned down an offer to join Sale Sharks in England, as he wants to be back with the Lions again.

"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 enquiry into the charges laid against Mitchell by the GLRU was chaired by an independent legal expert, Mr Peter Bam.

But now Mitchell has upped the ante and instructed his lawyers to file a labour court injunction after the GLRU allegedly refused to release these details to Mitchell or his lawyers.

"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," Mitchell's management, The Fordham Company, said on Monday.

"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, are continuing to press for full disclosure from the GLRU law firm Erasmus Inc and have threatened an urgent application to the Labour Court to secure the findings and recommendations, the statement continued.

The Golden Lions released a statement saying the disciplinary hearing was concluded but did not give any indication of what the findings contained.

“The internal disciplinary hearing of the Golden Lions Rugby Union (“GLRU”) against John Mitchell has concluded,” Acting CEO Ruben Moggee said in a statement.

“In terms of the independent chairperson’s findings and recommendations, the GLRU will engage John in discussions which by the nature of the employment relationship are private and confidential and cannot be disclosed.

“Further information will only be made available once the parties have met and agreed on a joint media release.”

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