Tag Archives: UKA

Coach John Lees banned for lifetime

A British athletics coach has been banned for life for sexual misconduct John Lees was found guilty of five charges and he admitted to other counts.

The independent appeal committee, chaired by Jane Mulcahy QC, found him guilty of five charges relating to his misconduct towards athletes.

An additional two charges were admitted by Lees, who was based in Edinburgh.

The panel concluded: “We are left with the view that [Lees] habitually behaved inappropriately, had disregard for the rules and, as we have already noted, had no idea of boundaries.”

Scottish cross-country champion Mhairi Maclennan was one of the athletes to testify against Lees.

Waiving her right to anonymity, she said: “For me, today marks what I hope to be the end of a very long journey.

“This experience has certainly tested me in ways I never imagined possible. I’m immensely proud of all the athletes that have spoken up in this case, and I stand with all athletes, past and present, from our group.

“I hope that our story helps to change the narrative and sets a precedent that athletes will no longer suffer in silence.”

Lees had appealed against the decision in February to ban him from coaching and also against the length.

On Thursday, charges against Lees were found proven by the appeal panel of sexual touching, making a sexualised comment to a female athlete, endangering an athlete’s safety by “causing injury by administering a chiropractic adjustment” and providing chiropractic adjustments while not being appropriately qualified.

The further charges admitted by Lees related to massaging an athlete at his home address when she was under 18, and making inappropriate and sexualised comments to athletes in his training group.

British athletics John Lees (pictured) has been given a life ban for sexual misconduct

UK Athletics’ (UKA) submission to the appeal panel said: “[Lees] has shown a blatant disregard for the rules and an insistence on doing things his way… he could not even acknowledge that what he did was wrong.”

The panel concluded that his conduct was “very serious”.

It added: “Further, we are very troubled by his attitude and his continuing failure… to take any responsibility or to accept his conduct was wanting in any way.

“Our unanimous view is that [his] conduct and failure to accept any need for change renders him untrustworthy and unsuitable to work as a UKA licensed coach now or in the future.

“We have therefore decided that the appropriate sanction is the permanent withdrawal of [his] UKA coaching licence.”

The panel concluded: ‘We are left with the view that he habitually behaved inappropriately, had disregard for the rules and, as we have already noted, had no idea of boundaries.’

The UKA’s interim chief executive, Mark Munro, said: ‘We are pleased with the decision by the panel.

‘Athletics cannot tolerate the type of behaviour highlighted in this case. This decision shows that the welfare is at the front and centre of UK Athletics’ and at the heart of what we stand for.’

Ian Beattie appointed chair of UK Athletics

Former chair of Scottish Athletics gets top job at UKA as he replaces Nic Coward

Ian Beattie will succeed Nic Coward as chair of UK Athletics. The former chair of Scottish Athletics will begin his role in October and will oversee a governing body which is run by chief executive Jo Coates.

UKA say the search for a successor to Coward was “specifically designed to attract a pool of diverse candidates” and there was speculation that someone from outside of athletics might get the role. But instead it has gone to a man who has a rich history in the sport, in addition to being a chartered accountant and chief operating officer of Lindsays Solicitors.

Beattie is a member and endurance coach of Harmeny Athletics Club in Edinburgh and has previously been a member of Portobello, Strathearn Harriers, Central AC and Troon Tortoises, serving on the committee of most of those clubs.

He is race director of the West Highland Way Race – having completed the ultra running event eight times – and has completed more than 100 marathons and 100 half marathons.

Beattie takes over at a difficult time for the sport, amid reports of disillusionment among a number of Britain’s best known athletes. He said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to the chair position at UK Athletics. It is an exciting time to be taking on the role and I look forward to helping the organisation provide a positive environment for athletes, coaches, officials and everyone else involved in the sport.

“Having previously chaired one of the home country athletics federations, I recognise the importance of all the athletics bodies in the UK working together, with each of us performing our roles to the highest possible standard.

“My vision is for athletics to be a sport where everyone pulls in the same direction and feels proud to be part of the athletics family in the UK. It is encouraging that the structures are now in place to allow that to happen, and I look forward to helping UKA play its part in achieving this in the years ahead.”

Source: athleticsweekly.com