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SBD Global/February 11, 2013/People and Pop Culture
Jessica Ennis' Coach Cuts Ties With UK Athletics, Slams Organization
Published February 11, 2013
TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT: In London, Anna Kessel reported Minichiello, who has been told to "take it or leave it" by Eriksson, said that he has "decided to walk away from the governing body's offer." Minichiello said, "I reflected on it and thought, well, if that's how I'm valued it probably does make sense to leave it. My door's open if they want to come back and renegotiate. It's an open door and it's always going to be that way." Minichiello has "a reputation for speaking his mind." He said he was aware Eriksson had accused him of airing his "dirty laundry" in public, but that he would not be intimidated by a "bullying culture" that he alleges was cultivated under former head coach CHARLES VAN COMMENEE. Minichiello: "I think they've picked the wrong fat kid to bully. I'm not for bullying" (GUARDIAN, 2/9). Also in London, in a separate piece, Kessel reported Eriksson "denied that there was any bullying element at play." Eriksson: "I can't relate to it, that's all I can say about it. It's not happening as long as I've been there. I don't know about the past." Eriksson said that he "will be seeking to reassure Ennis of UKA's support." He said, "We did that the first time we met. We said that we would continue supporting her and we would do everything we can for her to perform at the next level. When I see her next time we will be just reconfirming that" (GUARDIAN, 2/10).
SIGN OF THE TIMES: The SUNDAY TIMES reported Minichiello admits he has no "divine right" to be employed by UK Athletics, acknowledging that "changes are being made with coaching being centred around a single High Performance Centre in Loughborough." However, he is afraid that his time coaching the heptathlete will "suffer as a result of the need to find other work." Minichiello said, "The sport has gone in a different direction, at this moment in time they don’t think I have anything to offer, so be it" (SUNDAY TIMES, 2/10).