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Jessica Ennis-Hill’s former coach handed life ban over sexually inappropriate conduct

Toni Minichiello has been banned from athletics for life after an investigation.

Toni Minichiello (file pic).
Toni Minichiello (file pic).
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

TONI MINICHIELLO HAS been banned from athletics for life after an investigation found he engaged in “sexually physical behaviour” with athletes.

Minichiello, who coached Jessica Ennis-Hill to Olympic heptathlon glory, 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”.

UK Athletics said the findings, which amount to a large number of breaches of its coach licence terms over a 15-year period, “constitute gross breaches of trust”.

As Minichiello’s coaching licence expired during the disciplinary process, he cannot be suspended or subject to a sanction.

However, the governing body has decided it will not entertain 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,” a UK Athletics statement read.

“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.

“UKA has decided that it will not entertain any future application made by Mr Minichiello for a UKA coach licence in perpetuity.”

Minichiello was named BBC Sports Personality Coach of the Year 10 years ago after guiding Ennis to Olympic glory at London 2012.

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britains-jessica-ennis-talks-to-her-coach-toni-minichiello-during-her-womens-heptathlon-high-jump-group-a-event-at-the-london-2012-olympic-games-at-the-olympic-stadium-august-3-2012-reutersphil-n Minichiello with Ennis-Hill at London 2012. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

The 56-year-old, who had been the subject of multiple complaints from women in athletics, was found guilty of 11 serious charges by an independent case-management group.

These included mimicking sexual activity and touching an athlete’s breasts.

He also told an athlete she could “suck my ****” if she did not continue to train and “frequently” referred to his penis as “spicy Italian sausage”.

Various other charges were not proven.

Should Minichiello wish to apply for a coach licence in the future, the matter would be subject to an appeal.

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