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UK Athletics chief Joanna Coates proposes life bans for abuse coaches

Coaches who are found to be guilty of abuse should receive a lifetime ban from the sport, states UK Athletics' (UKA) chief Joanna Coates.

UK Athletics chief Joanna Coates proposes life bans for abuse coaches

Coates has claimed that she is committed to amending the policies that so that harsher bans can be implemented in abuse cases and is said to be ready to raise the issue at the next board meeting.

As it stands, lifetime bans can be handed out but are not often done so in all cases, something that Coates keen on amending.

Athletes Anna Gordon, Kate Seary and Mhairi Maclennan wrote an open letter to her - signed by an additional 2,000 people - saying that recent cases had highlighted the risks of the policy not providing stricter consequences for physical or sexual abuse.

"We absolutely are going to set a zero tolerance policy without a shadow of a doubt," Coates started. "We will ensure there is a lifetime ban that we can give if what comes before us, the result needs to be a lifetime ban.

"I would say if it is sexual misconduct, it's a lifetime ban. Physical abuse, I would say is a lifetime ban. If they're prosecuted through the criminal system, it's a lifetime ban."

Coates hopes that the policy can be fixed within the next four to six weeks.

UKA have said that it would currently be unlikely that a coach would be reinstated into a role after being found guilty of abuse but Coates has admitted that change needs to be implemented so that the policy and culture of UKA is consistent and doesn't allow for any loopholes.

In the instance of physical or sexual abuse, she said: "We absolutely will change that, we'll change the culture, we'll change the policies and we'll make sure that people receive the relevant sanctions.

"I know some people will be looking and thinking 'Can they really do it? Do they really mean it?' Yes, we really, really mean it."

Author: Jake Wilkin