RFU set to discuss Johnson's future
November 2, 2011
England manager Martin Johnson's future is set to be debated by the Rugby Football Union management board on Wednesday © Getty Images
The future of England manager Martin Johnson is set to be debated by the Rugby Football Union's (RFU) management board at Twickenham on Wednesday.
Johnson's position has been called into doubt in the wake of a troubled Rugby World Cup campaign that saw his side hit the headlines for a series of off-the-field incidents on their way to a quarter-final exit at the hands of France. The 41-year-old, whose current contract expires next month, has given no indication over whether he wishes to remain in his post while RFU chiefs are reported to be willing for him to continue, if he agrees to a complete overhaul of his backroom staff.
Concrete recommendations are unlikely to be forthcoming today as the six reviews launched into the health of English rugby are still ongoing. It is understood that final recommendations as to Johnson's future are not likely to be settled until the review group formed by RFU, Premiership and Players' Association officials meets on November 17.
The future of former management board chairman and current acting chief executive Martyn Thomas is also shrouded in doubt following heavy criticism of his role in the recruitment and departure of former chief executive John Steele. Reports suggest the RFU's board of directors has been warned that unless Thomas is axed, the clubs will take action.
Former chief executive Francis Baron, Steele's predecessor, is among those calling for his removal. "The RFU now desperately need a clean break and a new board," Baron told the Evening Standard. "If it's the old discredited board who are recruiting the new chief executive, the same people who recruited John Steele, I'm worried that they won't go for a heavyweight and get it right.
"When things go wrong on your watch, it's a well-established tradition in British public life that you do the honourable thing. But decision-making in the RFU now seem to be focused on self-preservation, not on taking the game forward.
"To see the organisation that you left in excellent shape fall into the current state of disrepair and disrepute is absolutely heart-rending. It's like seeing a favoured son going off the rails."
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