Toni Minichiello handed lifetime ban by UK Athletics over sexually inappropriate conduct

Toni Minichiello at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)
Toni Minichiello at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Getty Images)

Toni Minichiello has been given a lifetime ban by UK Athletics over sexually inappropriate conduct.

The coach, who famously guided Jessica Ennis-Hill to gold at the London 2012 Olympics, will not be permitted to train athletes following an investigation, which revealed that he engaged in sexually inappropriate behaviour, emotional abuse and bullying.

Multiple breaches of trust were found and UK Athletics labelled the findings as “the utmost seriousness”.

After being suspended last year before an investigation, Minichiello has been found to have breached his coaching licence over the course of 15 years in many ways, according to the Independent Case Management Group. The investigation found that Minichiello:

1) Made inappropriate sexual references and gestures to athletes.

2) Failed to respect the athletes 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.

The statement added: “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.”

With Minichiello’s coaching licence already expired, a suspension or sanction was not possible, but action has been taken in the form of not entertaining future applications for a UKA coach licence “in perpetuity”.

“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,” UKA added.

“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,” it added. “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.”