Golden Lions Super Rugby and Currie Cup winning coach John Mitchell has terminated his contract with the Golden Lions Rugby Union according to reports.
Mitchell has agreed to remain as a consultant for the Lions but his exit frees him up to join Aviva Premiership Rugby club Sale Sharks.
The Lions suspended Mitchell before the end of the Super Rugby season but the former All Black coach was later cleared on all charges and in his absence the Lions lost their Super Rugby status and were replaced by the Southern Kings.
Mitchell has been extensively linked with English Premiership Rugby club Sale Sharks and was even included on their Rugby Strategy Management board.
After Mitchell was cleared of all charges he returned to work with the Lions and started planning for the Super Rugby relegation promotion play off match in 2013 and said that he saw his future in South Africa with the Lions.
"I want my head coach position back at the Lions," Mitchell said after being cleared.
"There is some unfinished business to do with the Lions."
"Furthermore, I am determined that my future will be in South Africa".
It is not yet known what prompted Mitchell's change of heart but it is understood that he proposed to the Lions that he would become a consultant.
Lions CEO Ruben Mogee told Eyewitness news that Mitchell will enter a one-year consultancy role in the position of technical advisor to provide necessary technical advice to the Golden Lions.
"There will be an interim period where he will work with Sale, but he will return to SA and be based in JHB", said Mogee.
"He'll provide input and assist Johann Ackermann with post/pre match analysis but (it) won't involve a full-time role".
GLRU president Kevin de Klerk said that he wass pleased with the new arrangement and believes the team will benefit immensely from the new set-up.
"We are looking forward to the future and believe the new agreement with John is the ideal alternative for the Golden Lions," De Klerk said.
"It is a wonderful opportunity for us to utilise John’s expertise while offering an up-and-coming coach like Johan the chance to deliver and develop.
"We would like to thank John for his contribution to this Union thus far and wish him well for his other endeavours in the future."
As per the conditions of the new agreement, Mitchell will not consult for any other South African franchise during his consultation tenure at the Golden Lions Rugby Union.
"I am pleased that Kevin de Klerk and GLRU CEO Ruben Moggee have been extremely supportive of my wish to remain on board at the Lions, while allowing me the chance to consider other associations linked to rugby," said Mitchell.
"I am fully committed to helping the Lions and head coach Johan Ackermann in the rebuilding process. I have unfinished business with the Lions and this new arrangement will enable me to help the team achieve the goals they have set out."
Mitchell's change in postion is with immediate effect and assistant coach Johan Ackermann will take over the head coach position.