sport

Eriksson wants Minichiello decision

UK Athletics chief Peter Eriksson has told Jessica Ennis' coach Toni Minichiello to hurry up and decide whether to accept a new job.

Minichiello, who guided Jessica Ennis to Olympic heptathlon gold, lost his own job as an Olympic coach in UKA's restructuring plan around a single High Performance Institute in Loughborough.

Ennis intends to stay at a training base in her home city of Sheffield, and Minichiello plans to stay with her. But the man named coach of the year in November by the national coaching organisation, SportsCoachUK, has no other Olympic or world medallists in his training group, meaning he will not be due a full-time salary.

Minichiello and UKA have held talks over a new job, which would likely see him operating in a consultancy role on reduced terms to work specifically with Ennis.

New Olympic head coach Eriksson said: "It's all in Toni's hands now. I don't want to talk too much about it because it seems to go round in circles like a never-ending story.

"But it's been in Toni's hands for quite a while. It's time to make up his mind I think.

Asked what Minichiello's options were, Eriksson said: "Take it or leave it. It's always that isn't it?"

Minichiello has not been shy in giving his views on the situation and Eriksson suggested that was not the best policy.

Minichiello was a guest on BBC Radio 5 Live last week, raising the prospect of Ennis paying for his expertise and also claiming British coaches were undervalued.

"You can't have full-time athletes and part-time coaches," he said.

Eriksson added: "Doing the dirty laundry in public is never a good idea, I don't think personally.

"But we have to move on because we have a big programme, we have many athletes in the system that can do really well. We need to focus on that and the planning that we're doing, the changes that we're implementing, and that's what we're doing."

Eriksson said he was confident the controversy surrounding the treatment of her coach would not affect Ennis' preparation for the season ahead.

"I think she is training hard, she's focused, she knows what she needs to do," he said. "I think she is on target with everything she does."