Steele's leadership has been sharply criticised following the mess the RFU have made of recruiting a new performance director.
Sir Clive Woodward, widely considered favourite for the post, removed himself from the RFU's shortlist on Thursday after two chaotic weeks at Twickenham.
Steele first pushed through a change to the job description and then suffered the embarrassment of the RFU's management board voting to reverse the decision.
The whole process has now been put on hold until June, leaving the RFU open to claims of amateurism.
But senior officials from inside and outside rugby today went into bat for Steele, the former Northampton coach and UK Sport chief executive.
Baroness Sue Campbell, the chair of UK Sport, said: "John Steele is an exceptional leader and a man of great integrity.
"As my chief executive at UK Sport for five years he brought vision and drive to an organisation that is now considered by many of our international competitors to be world leading in driving high-performance sport.
"John is principled and determined to work to the highest standards."
Steele's first job after joining the RFU from UK Sport was to launch a game-wide review, which resulted in a restructure of senior management at the union.
Three new positions were created in an attempt to bring the running of all rugby in England into one department.
Rob Andrew moved to the role of rugby operations director and Steve Grainger was appointed development director.
The RFU had hoped to appoint the new performance director at the same time.
Steele's rugby background was a key factor in his appointment - indeed this time 11 years ago he was preparing Northampton for their Heineken Cup final victory over Munster.
The Saints are back in the Heineken Cup final, tackling Leinster tomorrow, while Harlequins play Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup final tonight.
Premiership Rugby chairman Quentin Smith praised the impact Steele has made since his return to the game.
"Through the Professional Game Board, we have continued to work very effectively with the RFU and have valued the new approach and engagement of John Steele as well as other partners in the professional game, including the players and the Championship clubs," said Smith.
"When the PGB met yesterday, we endorsed the substantial progress which has been made this season and set further objectives for the professional game for next season onwards."
Some Twickenham insiders believe Woodward's decision will ultimately be for the best, given how vehemently he split opinion at the RFU before any appointment had been made.
But there are senior RFU officials who backed a return for Woodward, with chairman Martyn Thomas being one.
Steele will need to ensure the union are unified behind whoever gets the performance director job.
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