• Monday, October 03, 2022

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British athletics coach Minichiello gets life ban for sexual misconduct

BEIJING, CHINA – AUGUST 23: Jessica Ennis-Hill of Great Britain embraces coach Toni Minichiello after winning the Women’s Heptathlon 800 metres and the overall Heptathlon gold during day two of the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships Beijing 2015 at Beijing National Stadium on August 23, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for IAAF)

By: Shelbin MS

Toni Minichiello, one of Britain’s leading track and field coaches, has been given a life ban after an investigation found he had engaged in “sexually physical behaviour” with athletes.

Minichiello, who coached Jessica Ennis-Hill to Olympic heptathlon gold at the 2012 London Games, was also deemed to have made inappropriate sexual references and gestures to athletes and engaged in “inappropriate and sometimes aggressive behaviour, bullying and emotional abuse”.

None of the female athletes allegedly abused by Minichiello has been named in a report published by UK Athletics on Tuesday.

Both the Guardian and Daily Telegraph newspapers said they understood Ennis-Hill was not one of the athletes involved.

UK Athletics said the findings, which amount to multiple breaches of its coach licence terms over a 15-year period, “constitute gross breaches of trust” and are of the “utmost seriousness”.

Minichiello’s coaching licence expired during the disciplinary process, which means he cannot be suspended or subject to a sanction by UK Athletics.

However, the national governing body has said it will not consider any future application made by Minichiello for a coach licence.

“UKA has considered the matter and decided that these findings are of the utmost seriousness,” said a statement issued Tuesday.

“They constitute gross breaches of trust by Mr Minichiello which have had severe consequences for the mental health and mental wellbeing of the athletes under his charge.

“The issuance of a UKA licence to a coach is essentially a representation on behalf of UKA that the coach in question can be trusted with the athletes under his charge.

“UKA is firmly of the view that there will never be a time in the future at which it would be appropriate to grant that assurance and issue such a licence,” with the statement adding any future application by Minichiello would be refused “in perpetuity.”

Minichiello was found guilty of 11 serious charges by an independent case-management group. These included touching an athlete’s breasts and making “inappropriate comments about athletes’ relationships and their boyfriends”.

The 56-year-old Minichiello has yet to make a public response to the life ban imposed by UKA.

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