Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - The ongoing saga surrounding suspended Lions coach John Mitchell’s position is likely to drag on past the end of the current Vodacom Super Rugby season.
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According to the SuperSport website, Lions acting CEO Ruben Moggee confirmed as much on Tuesday after both parties had now consulted legal advice on the suspension and the process was being followed according to the Labour Act before any hearing could take place.
“We don’t expect any movement before the middle to latter part of this month,” Moggee said, “things are in the hands of our lawyers now and the process needs to be followed.”
The Lions suspended Mitchell, ostensibly on the complaints of their leading players at how they were being treated, but since then it has come to light that the Golden Lions Rugby Union has had its own problems with the coach as well and took this into account in suspending him.
Mitchell’s assistants Johan Ackermann and Carlos Spencer have been put in charge of leading the side until the end of the Super Rugby season, and the team only have two more weeks left to stop themselves from ending at the bottom of the Super Rugby table, with games against the Rebels and Bulls respectively.
However, none of the allegations have been made public yet, and Mitchell, when contacted for comment, has referred matters to his lawyers.
According to reports, charges have been sent to Mitchell’s legal team and are awaiting a reply, before the matter can proceed further.
Last week Lions president Kevin de Klerk admitted the charges weren’t “player driven” as was previously suggested by the Lions.
“It is inaccurate to say it is a player-driven thing and I would like us to move away from that,” De Klerk told reporters in Johannesburg.
“It was inclusive of a number of processes and it wasn't necessarily the players on their own, and that is the way the position stands.”
The Lions also have a number of other pressing problems to deal with, not least their own financial situation as well as the very real possibility they may not be playing Super Rugby next year to make way for the Kings.