- Sep 23, 2023
Toni Minichiello, one of the UK’s top track and field coaches, has been banned for life after an inquiry revealed that he engaged in “sexually physical behaviour” with athletes. The claims do not name any of the female athletes who were allegedly abused by Minichiello.
Minichiello, who coached Jessica Ennis-Hill to Olympic heptathlon gold in London in 2012, was also found to have made improper sexual allusions and gestures to athletes, as well as engaging in “inappropriate and sometimes aggressive behaviour, bullying and emotional abuse”
Minichiello was temporarily suspended last year while an inquiry into accusations from female athletes was conducted. The panel reported Minichiello’s improper sexual remarks and gestures to athletes on Tuesday. Minichiello has always maintained that he did nothing of sorts.
According to the Guardian and Daily Telegraph, Ennis-Hill was not one of the athletes involved. UK Athletics stated that the findings, which amounted to repeated violations of its coach licence rules over 15 years, “constitute gross breaches of trust” and are of “utmost seriousness”
Minichiello’s future coach licence application will be rejected by UK Athletics, the national governing body. “UKA has considered the matter and decided that these findings are of the utmost seriousness,” said a statement issued on 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,” the statement further read.
An independent case-management panel judged Minichiello guilty of 11 severe offences. Making “inappropriate comments about athletes’ relationships and their boyfriends” was one of them. The 56-year-old has yet to respond publicly to UKA’s life ban.