Toni Minicihello has been permanently banned from coaching by UK Athletics over sexually inappropriate conduct after being found to have committed “gross breaches of trust”.
Having been the subject of many reports filed by female athletes about his behaviour, the 56-year-old has been found guilty of committing 11 serious offences by an independent case management group. An independent panel found that his actions had “serious consequences for the mental health and mental wellbeing of the athletes under his charge”.
Minichiello, who was suspended last year pending an investigation, was found to have breached his coaching license over a 15-year period. An adjudication panel found Minichiello:
- made inappropriate sexual references and gestures to athletes.
failed to respect the athletes right to a private life by making intrusive enquiries and personal comments about their personal lives.
engaged in sexually physical behaviour, namely inappropriate and unwanted touching of athletes to whom he owed a duty of care.
engaged in inappropriate and sometimes aggressive behaviour, bullying and emotional abuse.
The panel added that the coach had mimicked sexual activity with athletes and inappropriately and unwantedly touched some, while also making intrusive or derogatory comments about their personal lives.
UK Athletics said that as Minichiello’s coaching licence had expired they were unable to suspend or sanction him. But due to the seriousness of the allegations, they would not allow him to coach again.
“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 said. “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.”
The disgraced trainer coached Jessica Ennis-Hill to Olympic Heptathlon glory at London 2012.