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British track coach Tony Minichiello was banned for life on Tuesday after allegations of misconduct, including “sexually physical conduct” with unidentified athletes over a 15-year period, UK athletics’ governing body announced.
Minichiello was temporarily suspended last year following complaints from female athletes. Minichiello was found guilty by a jury of four charges, which the governing body said amounted to “gross breach of trust”.
“He committed a complete breach of trust by Mr. Minichiello, which has had severe consequences for the mental health and psychological well-being of the athletes under his care,” UK Athletics said.
Minichiello vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
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“I cannot fully express my disappointment with this decision and with UK Athletics’ unfair handling of this process,” Minichiello said in a statement. “I have been a coach for over 30 years and while I am firm and demanding, I have never misbehaved with any of my athletes, as many of them will attest.”
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Minichiello made his name in coaching by guiding British track and field star Jessica Ennis-Hill to three world titles and Olympic gold and silver medals from 2009 to 2015.
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Minichiello’s coaching license expired at the time of the prosecution, so he cannot be suspended or sanctioned by UK Athletics’ governing body.
Although he could not be suspended, UK Athletics effectively banned him from coaching again, “as such, UKA has decided that it will not permanently consider any future application made by Mr Minichiello for a UKA coaching licence,” British Track said.