Woodward Snubs RFU Return to Stay on as BOA Director

May 20, 2011

Sir Clive Woodward, former Rugby World Cup winning coach with England  in 2003, has ruled out a return to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) despite being widely tipped to take up the vacant elite performance director role at the body.

In rejecting the proposed comeback, Woodward has opted to stay on in his role as British Olympic Association (BOA) Director of Sport and Team GB Deputy Chef de Mission, despite holding informal talks with the RFU about a possible return.

Woodward released a statement, saying: “Since the Rugby Football Union announced its restructuring plan late last year, there has been considerable speculation that I might return to the RFU.

“With the full knowledge of Colin Moynihan [BOA chairman] and Andy Hunt [BOA chief executive and London 2012 Chef de Mission], I have had informal conversations regarding the role of Performance Director with senior figures at the RFU.

“However, I have not participated in a formal interview for this position at any stage in the RFU process.

“From the outset I had made it clear to both Colin and Andy that I would only attend a formal interview with their full knowledge.

“I would like to express my thanks for their understanding over this situation and also for their considered views which have been greatly appreciated.

“In order to prevent any further speculation and in the interests of both the BOA and RFU I would like to formally confirm that I will not be attending any interviews for this position.

“I am totally committed to my role as Director of Sport at the British Olympic Association and Deputy Chef de Mission for Team GB in London 2012.

“We have an historic opportunity ahead, when more than 500 of Britain’s most accomplished Olympic athletes will represent Team GB, at home, in the London 2012 Games.

“May I wish the RFU all the best in its search to find the appropriate candidate for this very important role for English rugby going forward.”

BOA chairman Moynihan revealed his relief at the news, saying: “Clive’s decision to forgo possible opportunities with the RFU and remain with the British Olympic Association is welcome news for Team GB.

“As we work to provide British athletes and their NGBs with the highest levels of service and support in connection with their participation in major international Games, the work Clive and his sport team are doing is critical.

“British athletes can be confident in knowing that Clive and his team are working in close partnership with performance directors, coaches and other leaders throughout British sport to find and deliver the crucial, difference-making innovations and services that will help underpin their continued success in the international arena.”

Hunt added: “We are now in the critical phase of our planning and preparation for Team GB in London 2012 and I am delighted to know Clive will continue making important contributions to those efforts as a member of our Delegation Leadership Team and as our Director of Sport.

“Clive understands exactly what it takes to deliver under intense pressure.

“He has been successful in converting years of planning and preparation into success on the field of play.

“He is a highly respected voice in our preparation and I am proud to have him as a member of our team and as one of our Deputy Chefs de Mission.”