British and Irish Lions chief executive John Feehan has identified former England head coach Stuart Lancaster as a potential candidate to lead the 2017 tour of New Zealand.

Lancaster parted company with England following a dismal 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign in which he failed to guide the team out of their pool.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is considered the frontrunner for the role having led the team to a series win in Australia in 2013, and, on Wednesday, he admitted it would be hard to turn down another offer.

Feehan thinks Lancaster also possesses the qualities the Lions are looking for, placing him in the frame for the coveted position.

"I am certainly not ruling anybody out at this stage," Feehan said. "He [Lancaster] has a lot of the credentials you could potentially look for in a Lions coach, but right now we have got to wait and see how the results go over the Six Nations and the June series and then make a more informed decision.

"At this stage we have to keep an open mind and see who is available to us, who wishes to do it and whether they fit the criteria set by ourselves."

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt stated his contract would not allow him to take up the role, but Feehan believes there is always room for negotiation.

"We are aware of the contractual position of all the coaches. Those things can always be discussed," he added.