Toni Minichiello, the coach who guided Jessica Ennis-Hill to gold at the London
Olympics, has been banned for life from training athletes after an investigation found
he had engaged in sexually inappropriate behaviour, emotional abuse and bullying.
Governing body 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
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 Toni 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.”
A statement from Minichiello read: “I cannot fully express my disappointment with
this decision and with UK Athletics’ unfair handling of this process. I strongly deny
all the charges made against me.
“I have been a coach for over 30 years and while I have been robust and demanding, I
have not behaved inappropriately towards any of my athletes as very many of them
“From the beginning, I cooperated with UK Athletics and the appointed Independent
Investigator. Unfortunately, the investigation was one-sided. For example, I offered
to provide UK Athletics with the names and contact details of 80-witnesses, including
my then-current training group. UK Athletics declined the list of those witnesses.
“While repeatedly requesting details as to how the investigation was being
conducted, this was only provided by UK Athletics in a witness statement shortly
before the hearing of this matter, over a year after my provisional suspension, raising
serious questions regarding my ability to gain a fair hearing.