ON THE EDGE

Mitchell has his say

Wed, 12 Sep 2012 13:53
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John denies all allegations of misconduct
Quote-end

Suspended Golden Lions head coach John Mitchell has broken his silence.

It was revealed on Tuesday that the disciplinary hearing into allegations of misconduct against the Lions' suspended coach, Mitchell, was postponed until next week.

Golden Lions Rugby Union President Kevin de Klerk explained that the latest delay has come because "the chairperson of the hearing had taken ill".

Mitchell, who last year took the Johannesburg-based team to its first Currie Cup title in 12 years, remains positive and confident of his position in light of evidence tendered in the initial disciplinary hearing in mid-July, his management company stressed.

"John is determined to ensure that his good name and reputation as an international rugby coach are protected," said The Fordham Company in a statement.

Mitchell, the former All Black coach, who enjoyed an 86 per cent success rate with the national team before moving to Super Rugby appointments as start-up head coach of the Western Force followed by his appointment to the Golden Lions, was suspended by the GLRU in June pending an investigation and the convening of a disciplinary enquiry.

"The nature of the complaints relates, among other things, to our client allegedly using abusive language towards players, pressuring injured players to train and play and allegations that he breached his contract of employment by, among other things, making certain public appearances and making comments to the media.

"John denies all allegations of misconduct and remains confident he will, though the disciplinary process, fully vindicate his position," according to the statement.

The disciplinary enquiry commenced on July 17 and 18, before independent chairperson Peter Bam, an experienced employment lawyer.

The enquiry was thereafter postponed by until September 10 and has since been postponed again..

"It is unfortunate that some news reports have suggested that the disciplinary enquiry was postponed solely due to the unavailability of John and his legal representatives. This is untrue," the Fordham statement continued.

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