Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

RFU discuss Johnson future

Martin Johnson

The futures of England manager Martin Johnson and acting chief executive Martyn Thomas will top the agenda when the Rugby Football Union's management board meet on Wednesday.

Johnson's position has been shrouded in uncertainty following England's troubled World Cup campaign and the 41-year-old has given no indication over whether he wishes to remain in his post. Twickenham chiefs are reported to be willing for him to continue, if he agrees to a complete overhaul of his backroom staff.

Former management board chairman Thomas' own position 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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