Former British athletics coach Toni Minichiello, who has worked with British athletes including Jessica Ennis-Hill, has again been banned from working in British athletics after a panel found he had acted inappropriately with several athletes over a 15-year period.
The 56-year-old was suspended earlier this week following an investigation into complaints made by a number of female athletes who chose to remain anonymous. The investigation collected statements from 30 witnesses on complaints of physical sexual behavior, aggressive behavior, inappropriate comments, bullying and emotional abuse. He found 11 proven charges, including allegations that Minichiello touched the breasts of two athletes and made another athlete sit in the corner with a dunce cap. The full list of results is available on the UK Athletics website.
Since the outcome of the investigation, former Commonwealth heptathlon gold medalist Louise Hazel said she reported Minichiello to senior governing body staff in 2007, but the issue was “passed over in silence”.
‘I raised [the incident] with senior members of UK Athletics staff,’ Hazel, who was not coached by Minichiello, told The Telegraph. “I was adamant that I wanted to press charges against him and that his behavior was beyond the bounds in terms of professionalism.
“There was no disciplinary action. I was told at the time just to stay away from Toni, which was extremely upsetting considering I was the person filing the complaint. Why? did it stop there?
“In any national governing body, there should be some sort of system in place that allows a person making a complaint to escalate that complaint to the highest power so that it is taken seriously instead of actually being swept under the rug.”
Jessica Ennis-Hill said the allegations were both “shocking and upsetting”. The Olympic gold medal-winning heptathlete, who was coached by Minichiello from the age of 13, posted her response to the investigation on Instagram, adding that although she had never been the victim of any sexual physique, “such inappropriate behavior or language”. has no place in any coaching work environment”.
Minichiello has denied the charges against him, saying UK Athletics handled the investigation “unfairly” and that it was “one-sided”.
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