© Copyright – 2022 – Athletics Illustrated

Toni Minichiello has been served with a lifetime ban from coaching in Great Britain for sexually physical behaviour. He is the former coach of Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill who competed in the heptathlon.

The 56-year-old is accused of engaging in “inappropriate and sometimes aggressive behaviour, bullying and emotional abuse.”

None of the athletes who he coached including Ennis-Hill were named in the indictment.

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

“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 won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year coach award in 2012 after leading Ennis-Hill to Olympic gold at the 2012 London Olympic games.

He also won the Coach of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards.

Minichiello coached Ennis-Hill from age 13 to when she retired from the sport.

RESULT OF THE ADJUDICATION IN UK ATHLETICS V MINICHIELLO

The Panel appointed by the Board of UKA to hear complaints made against Mr Minichiello alleging that he breached the Terms of his UKA Coach Licence has now reached its conclusion. The Panel decided that Mr Minichiello;

  1. Made inappropriate sexual references and gestures to athletes;
  2. Failed to respect the athlete’s right to a private life by making intrusive enquiries and personal comments about their personal lives;
  3. Engaged in sexually physical behaviour, namely inappropriate and unwanted touching of athletes to whom he owed a duty of care;
  4. Engaged in inappropriate and sometimes aggressive behaviour, bullying and emotional abuse.

These are the broad headings under which the Panel found numerous individual breaches of Mr Minichiello’s Coach Licence Terms. Further details of the behaviour that fell into each of these categories can be found linked to this statement. [Summary of charges]

UKA has considered the matter and decided that these findings are of the utmost seriousness. They amount to a large number of breaches of the UKA Coach Licence Terms over a 15-year period. 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.

It is noted that during the process of these disciplinary matters, Mr Minichiello’s coaching licence expired and therefore cannot be suspended/subject to a sanction. Therefore, UKA has decided that it will not entertain any future application made by Mr Minichiello for a UKA Coach Licence in perpetuity. 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.

Should Mr Minichiello wish to apply for a Coach Licence in the future, the matter will ultimately be subject to an appeal before the relevant body under UKA Rules.

UKA will share the outcome of this adjudication and decision relating to any future licence application with both UK Sport and the AIU for their awareness.

UKA wishes to recognise those who came forward to give evidence in this case. We thank them and strongly encourage anyone with a concern to come forward.

To contact us with a conduct concern please visit https://www.uka.org.uk/submit-a-concern/

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.