Ennis coach slams UK Athletics and claims 'lack of respect' forced him out the door
20:18 GMT, 9 February 2013
21:49 GMT, 9 February 2013
Jessica Ennis' coach, Toni Minichiello, has cut all ties with UK Athletics, claiming he felt ‘bullied’ and ‘not respected’ and alleging that chief executive Niels de Vos had not even congratulated him after Ennis won Olympic gold last summer.
Minichiello had been offered a consultancy role within UKA after his old job came to an end last month.
But Minichiello, who has coached Ennis since she was 12, has turned down the role after relations between him and De Vos and head coach Peter Eriksson soured.
Winning relationship: Toni Minichiello will continue to coach Jessica Ennis
Errikson said last month that Minichiello had been offered a new job and it was his decision to ‘take it or leave it’.
That jarred with Minichiello, who was at the European Indoor Championship Trials in Sheffield yesterday.
‘He said take it or leave it and I left it,’ he said. ‘It reflects what
their attitude and position is on what I’ve achieved in coaching.
‘What I’ve done with Jess, coaching her from such a young age, is
unique. You look at that statement and it shows a lack of respect. I
felt bullied and I’m sick and tired of that.’
No respect: Minichiello believes the terms he was offered from UK Athletics were disrespectful
Minichiello will continue to coach Ennis as she targets the World Championships and the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Pay me or don’t pay me, I am still going to coach Jess,’ he said.
Swede Eriksson, who took over from Charles van Commenee as head coach,
said Minichiello’s offer was worth more than his previous job.
‘He had a better financial offer than when he was a full-time employee,’
he said. ‘We gave him a better offer to coach one athlete and he turned
it down. That’s his choice, if he doesn’t want the job, that’s fine.’
Minichiello disagreed with Eriksson’s interpretation, saying: ‘It was
actually a reduction in my overall salary compared with the financial
package I was getting before.’
But it was the lack of validation that really hurt Minichiello.
‘After the Olympics, I got floods of congratulations, but there were two
notable absentees — Niels and Ed Warner, the chairman,’ he added. ‘At
no point did they pat me on the back, it was pretty clear they didn’t
rate me even after that success.’
Golden girl: Minichiello fears that his time with Ennis could be limited if he has to look for other work
A UKA statement said: ‘We made Toni a good offer to continue working
with us, but he has decided he would prefer to coach independently.
We have no issue with that and absolutely respect his decision. His
track record with Jessica is superb and if he feels his decision is the
best way to maintain success, then we respect that.
‘We’ll continue to support Jess and Toni 100 per cent with all training, medical and support services.’
Priority: Head of UKA Niels de Vos confirmed they would still be working very closely with Ennis