Toni Minichiello. AP Photo)

LONDON: Toni Minichielloone of Britain’s leading athletics coaches, has been banned for life after an investigation found he engaged in ‘sexually physical behaviour’ with athletes.
Minichiello, who coached Jessica Ennis Hill Olympic gold in the heptathlon at the 2012 London Games, was also found to have made inappropriate sexual references and gestures to athletes and engaged in “inappropriate and at times aggressive behavior, bullying and to psychological violence”.
None of the female athletes allegedly abused by Minichiello were named in a report released by British athletics tuesday.
The Guardian and Daily Telegraph newspapers said they understood Ennis-Hill was not one of the athletes involved.
UK Athletics said the findings, which amount to multiple breaches of the terms of his coaching license over a 15-year period, “constitute a gross breach of trust” and are “of the utmost gravity”.
Minichiello’s coaching license expired during the disciplinary process, meaning he cannot be suspended or subject to a sanction by UK Athletics.
However, the national governing body said they would not consider any future coaching license applications submitted by Minichiello.
“The UKA has reviewed the matter and decided that these findings are of the utmost seriousness,” said a statement issued on Tuesday.
“They constitute gross breaches of trust by Mr Minichiello which have had serious consequences for the mental health and mental well-being of the athletes under his care.
“The issuance of a UKA license to a coach is essentially a representation on behalf of the UKA that the coach in question can be trusted by the athletes under his care.
“The UKA strongly believes that there will never be a time in the future when it would be appropriate to grant this assurance and issue such a licence,” the statement adding that any future applications by Minichiello would be denied “until perpetuity”. ”
Minichiello was found guilty of 11 serious charges by an independent case management panel. These included touching an athlete’s breasts and making “inappropriate comments about the relationships of athletes and their boyfriends”.
Minichiello, 56, has yet to publicly respond to the lifetime ban imposed by the UKA.

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