He is entitled to seek prospective employment
Despite claims to the contrary, Lions coach John Mitchell has been looking at 'prospective employment' abroad.
This website can reveal that Mitchell did indeed look at, and may still accept, an overseas job.
This came on the same day that Mitchell, who has been under suspension by the Golden Lions Rugby Union since June, said in a statement - issued by management company, The Fordham Company - that he wants to continue as head coach of the Lions.
Monday's statement by the Fordham Company seemed to suggest that Mitchell had turned his back on English Premiership club Sale Sharks - who last Wednesday appointed him to a rugby strategy management board.
John Fordham, the Chief Executive of The Fordham Company, revealed to this website in an exclusive interview that Mitchell was indeed in the United Kingdom to look at job opportunities before his protracted arbitration hearing with the GLRU had been concluded.
"John's position is this: He is entitled to seek prospective employment and be in the UK with friends," Fordham told this website.
"There is nothing in his Lions contract that precludes this."
This follows after Fordham and Mitchell dismissed the claims by Brian Kennedy, owner of Sale Sharks, which suggested that Mitchell had already been appointed to the Sharks board.
Asked if the Sale statement, that Mitchell has already been appointed to the board, is premature, Fordham offered a terse: "Totally."
Asked if he believes, given the public fall-out with the GLRU, that he could actually still work in that environment, Fordham said: "John is keen to resume duties."
* Meanwhile the GLRU confirmed that the internal disciplinary hearing of the union against Mitchell has been concluded.
"In terms of the independent chairperson's findings and recommendations, the GLRU will engage John [Mitchell] in discussions - which by the nature of the employment relationship are private and confidential and cannot be disclosed," the GLRU said in a statement.
"Further information will only be made available once the parties have met and agreed on a joint media release."
Mitchell, a 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.
A more hands-on role for Mitchell was reportedly in the pipeline, with the former All Black coach hinting at a leadership role when pressed by the UK media on the issue.
It was thought his appointment would follow the resolution of a dispute with his current employers - the GLRU.
By Jan de Koning