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Inverness Harriers runner jointly launches campaign to ban coaches for life who are guilty of physical and sexual misconduct towards athletes


By Will Clark

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KIRKHILL athlete Mhairi Maclennan has jointly launched a campaign calling for zero tolerance life time bans on coaches who are guilty of physical or sexual misconduct towards athletes.

Mhairi Maclennan (centre) Picture: Graeme Webster
Mhairi Maclennan (centre) Picture: Graeme Webster

The Great Britain international cross country and long distance runner along with former pole vaulter Anna Gordon and Welsh international runner Kate Seary have written an open letter to UK Athletics (UKA) CEO Joanna Coates.

They are calling for coaches who are found to have broken the conditions of their coaching licence due to physical or sexual misconduct, harassment or abuse to be permanently banned.

The letter comes as it was brought to their attention coaches who have broken the conditions of their coaching license - specifically in the context of physical or sexual misconduct, harassment or abuse - will be eligible for reinstatement after temporary bans.

The campaign, which has received support from over 200 athletes is calling for an end to short-term or restricted bans and a move to consistent, transparent rulings with the welfare of athletes at the heart of decisions.

The letter reads: "We are writing to you on behalf of the athletics community across the UK who deserve to be safe and protected whilst enjoying the sport that they love.

"Recent events have highlighted that some coaches who have broken the conditions of their coaching license - specifically in the context of physical or sexual misconduct, harassment or abuse - will be eligible for reinstatement after temporary bans.

"The potential risks of this policy are obvious, and to protect the safety of all athletes we feel that these cases cannot be resolved using arbitrary decisions that consider any professional future for these coaches.

"It is positive that UK Athletics is entitled to withdraw a coaching licence at any time for any breach of condition 6.1 of the Coach Licence Terms and Conditions. "However, it is concerning that some coaches are still only being given temporary or restricted bans.

"We feel that anything less than a full and permanent ban is unacceptable in cases of physical or sexual misconduct, harassment or abuse.

"We therefore call for a zero-tolerance policy regarding any physical or sexual misconduct towards athletes in our sport.

"If any coach is found to have broken the Coach Licence Terms and Conditions regarding abuse of this nature, we believe their license should be permanently revoked.

"We want an end to short-term or restricted bans and a move to consistent, transparent rulings with the welfare of athletes at the heart of decisions."


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