10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The Sale Sharks head coach, Jim Mallinder, has also been linked with a move to Welford Road as has Stade Francais coach Nick Mallett and Ireland assistant coach, Declan Kidney.
For the remainder of the season, team affairs will be handled by chief executive and former England hooker Peter Wheeler, assisted by coach John Wells, captain Neil Back, and former England skipper Johnson.
Leicester will be back in English Premiership action against Sale on Friday night, knowing that they cannot afford any more league defeats if they are to qualify for next season's Heineken Cup. The Tigers are ninth in the Premiership, with only five wins from 14 games, and have just eight games left. They are 12 points adrift of the top six - a probable Heineken Cup qualification cut-off point - so the task facing Johnson and his team-mates is huge.
With Richards at the helm, the Tigers were crowned European champions in 2001 after a thrilling victory over Stade Francais in Paris, then retained their title by defeating Munster at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.