sport

Mitchell cleared of misconduct

John Mitchell has been cleared of all misconduct charges levelled against him by the Golden Lions and aims to return to work as coach Friday.

Mitchell has been working as a consultant with Sale Sharks during his suspension from duty with the Lions and had been approached about a permanent role at his former club.

But Mitchell said last week he had "unfinished business" with the Lions, who he led to Currie Cup success in 2011, and wanted to continue as head coach.

Mitchell's suspension has been now lifted and he has been requested to return to work at Ellis Park tomorrow, according to his lawyer Brian Patterson of Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs.

A statement from Mitchell's management agency, the Fordham Company, said: "John is elated with the outcome and feels that his position and reputation as an international coach has been fully vindicated.

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

At present, it is unclear whether Mitchell will continue in in his consultancy role with Sale.

The Golden Lions Rugby Union had levelled numerous charges against Mitchell, including allegations of abusive language towards players and that he pressured injured players to train and play.

Mitchell had always denied the allegations.

Peter Bam, an employment lawyer who acted as independent chairman of the disciplinary panel, has made recommendations on how best Mitchell and the GLRU can restore a working relationship.

Mitchell's representatives say he is ready to engage in the process.

"John is committed to working hard together with the GLRU to address these issues going forward," said John Fordham, chief executive of the Fordham Company.

"John is committed to remaining in South Africa and in continuing in his position as head coach of the GLRU. He's looking forward to his return to the club tomorrow."

Fordham added that Mitchell's lawyers and the GLRU's lawyers are engaged in discussions "to address the resolution of certain underlying issues that gave rise to the complains and to discuss Mitchell's future with the club".