Sale Sharks have confirmed that Steve Diamond has stepped down from his director of rugby role due to 'personal reasons'.
Diamond has made over 350 appearances as a player for the club and started his coaching career with the club in 2001 along with Jim Mallinder.
Having had stints with England Saxons, Saracens and Russia, he returned back to the AJ Bell Stadium based club as director of rugby in 2012. He led them to a Premiership Rugby Cup title last year but was forced to withdraw from the play-offs in the Gallagher Premiership following a Covid-19 outbreak.
Diamond's departure comes at the completion of three rounds in the ongoing Gallagher Premiership season where Sale Sharks have won two out of their three matches and now will head into the European Champions Cup opener against Toulon next weekend.
“After 10 proud years with Sale Sharks I have taken the decision to step away from the business.
I feel that this is the perfect moment to hand over to someone else, given the club is now stable and in a great position to compete at the highest level.
We have acquired a world class training facility, built an academy that is the envy of many premiership clubs and constructed a squad that can win tournaments and trophies at domestic and European level".
A statement from the club confirmed that attack and skills coach Paul Deacon will be in charge of the club following the exit of Diamond.
"The club would like to thank Steve for his loyal service and commitment over the years," read the statement.
"He leaves Sale Sharks in a strong position, having improved the club in many ways, and we wish him every success for the future.
"Paul Deacon will assume responsibility of the first team as head coach while we take stock and plan for the future."