RFU chief rules out Sir Clive's return

Tuesday, 09 October 2012
By Tom Degun

Sir Clive_Woodward_09-10-12October 9 - Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Ian Ritchie has ruled out an imminent return to Twickenham for Sir Clive Woodward, who left his post as director of sport at the British Olympic Association (BOA) last week.

As first revealed by insidethegames, England's 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning coach left the BOA after six years with the body, the highlight coming when he helped Team GB to a record-breaking performance at the London 2012 Olympics as Deputy Chef de Mission as they won 65 medals to finish third on the medal table.

But Ritchie, who joined the RFU earlier this year, said there were no plans to bring Sir Clive (pictured top) back to the organisation.

"We don't have any vacancies," he said.

"I respect totally what Clive did in rugby and the Olympics, but I am not going to get into hypotheticals.

"I am very happy with the way things are progressing at the moment."

Ritchie is perhaps wise to be cagey on the issue as it is because of a fiasco around Sir Clive that he is now RFU chief executive.

Last year, Sir Clive seemed poised to become England's performance director but his appointment caused huge friction between former RFU chief executive John Steele and former chairman Martyn Thomas.

Although Sir Clive did not take up the position, the issue eventually forced both Steele and Thomas to leave the organisation, with Ritchie coming in as Steele's replacement.

Ian RitchieRFU chief executive Ian Ritchie has dismissed the prospect of Sir Clive Woodward returning to Twickenham in the near future

The RFU is currently advertising for a head of athletic performance to work with the England team, although the job description would only cover part of Sir Clive's expertise.

When officially announcing that he would leave the BOA, Sir Clive made no indication that he wanted to return to rugby, instead explaining that he still hopes to remain close to the Olympic Movement.

"I will continue to chair the British Judo review panel and I am also delighted to accept a role as a Team GB Ambassador, this along with my position on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Entourage Commission means that I will be staying in close contact with the Olympic world," he said.

"I will now be concentrating on my coaching, corporate speaking, media and other business interests."

Contact the writer of this story at tom.degun@insidethegames.biz
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