A disciplinary committee found evidence of numerous forms of harassment by the Briton over 15 years, including attitudes, references, and inappropriate sexual gestures towards female athletes.
Toni Minichiello, coach of Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill and other notables sports figures, will be banned in the future and for life from training any type of athletes, due to their sexual misconduct and their practices of harassment and emotional abuse, reports The Guardian.
According to a statement from UK Athletics (UKA), the governing body of British athletics, a disciplinary committee considered that the performances and behavior of Minichiello, who was suspended last year while numerous complaints from athletes and coaches were investigated, had serious consequences for the mental health and well-being of some of its athletes.
The investigation, carried out by an Independent Case Management Group, uncovered numerous violations of sporting codes and the laws by Minichiello over a period of 15 years. As part of such conduct, explicit references and inappropriate sexual gestures towards athletes are counted.
According to the accusations, the coach did not respect the right to the private life of the athletes, asking them intrusive questions and comments about personal matters. In addition, he touched the athletes in an inappropriate and unwanted way, including on the breasts, and parodied sexual activity in front of them. In general, he is accused of inappropriate and sometimes aggressive behavior, as well as emotional harassment and abuse.
“[The coach’s actions] represent a large number of violations established for the UKA coaching license, for a period of 15 years. They constitute, by Minichiello, serious violations of due trust, which have had serious consequences for the health and mental well-being of the athletes in their charge”, it is said in the statement of UK Athletics.
The body specified, on the other hand, that since Minichiello’s coaching license had already expired, it could not suspend or sanction him, but you will not be allowed to work in this area again. “Issuing a UKA license to a coach is essentially a guarantee that the athletes in their charge can trust them. UKA firmly believes that there will never be a time in the future when it is appropriate to grant [Minichiello] that license. guarantee or issue a license”, the text states.
Minichiello has denied all the accusations. “There is no way to express more fully my disappointment at this decision and UK Athletics’ unfair approach to this process. I strongly deny all charges against me. I have been a manager for over 30 years and while I have been firm and demanding, I have not behaved inappropriately with any of my athletes, as many of them would confirm,” he said in a statement. Investigations into serious allegations of misconduct are very important, he added, but “they must be conducted carefully and fairly.” “I don’t think I was treated fairly in this case,” he concluded.