RFU Chief Executive John Steele has apparently been forced out of the organisation after a number of recent black marks against his name.
The high-profile blundering around the Performance Director put his position under pressure. Sir Clive Woodward was touted as the only man in the frame, and various leaks put off any other applicants apparently, but then Sir Clive said he hadn’t applied for the job anyway.
Then they downgraded the role so that it wouldn’t have anything to do with the senior England team, and then they changed their minds again, leaving them hamstrung when Woodward confirmed he wouldn’t be interviewed, and nobody else wanted the role.
The nail in the coffin might have been Investec’s decision to end their 12-year sponsorship of the England team, and a decision was reportedly made at an emergency board meeting last night.
The statement from the RFU said only, “The Rugby Football Union (RFU) Board of Directors can confirm that John Steele has left the Union with immediate effect. At the current time there is nothing more we can add while discussions are ongoing and we will update further as we are able.”
It’s obviously not the ideal start to England’s Rugby World Cup build-up, but will it really have an effect? At least now Johnno can get on with things knowing that a new boss will not be turning up, and hopefully this will be the end of some very negative press coverage of the RFU’s organisation until after the World Cup.
Presumably they’ll start another recruitment process to succeed Steele, and then re-address the Performance Director role afterwards. Maybe I’ll apply for the top job…how hard can it be?