Eriksson: Coach dispute will not harm Ennis

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis celebrating after victory in the Heptathlon at the Olympic Stadium, London last August Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

UK Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson insists Jessica Ennis will not be "punished" for the decision of her coach Toni Minichiello to sever ties with the governing body.

Minichiello had been in talks with UKA over a new role after his contract as an Olympic coach come to an end earlier this year.

However, protracted negotiations failed to produce an agreement and Minichiello, who was named coach of the year last November, will have to find other sources of income as he continues to coach the Olympic heptathlon champion.

"This is nothing we punish anybody for, rather the other way round that we will make sure she has what it takes," Eriksson said.

"I have only met her twice; the first time we met we said we would continue supporting her and do everything we can for her to perform at the best level.

When I see her next time it will be just reconfirming that."

Asked if it was a disappointing situation, Eriksson - who said he could not relate to Minichiello's claims that UKA had attempted to "bully him" - added: "It is, because it's been a long process.

"I am sure he is thinking about the implications it has for them and I am sure he has a plan. He can't just do this out of the blue.

"I am fine with it and we will do everything we can to help her to get to what she wants.

"I think she has more to give, better performances to come and we will continue doing the best we can for her."

It had initially been expected that Minichiello would receive "athlete-based support" from UKA, which he said would mean a pay cut of around 50%, but Eriksson added: "We more than doubled that to match it up with coaches we have in the system so he was equal to that salary level, and he then coaches one athlete and the others coach 10 or 12 or more.

"It also gave him freedom to do whatever he wants on the side which the other coaches don't have. It's his decision."

All three of Britain's gold medallists from London - Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Ennis - now have coaches who are not directly employed by UKA, but asked about them being outside the system, Eriksson added: "They are and they aren't.

"They are part of the funding we have, the camps we are doing - Mo was in Kenya in January and training with the rest of the team - so I don't see it that way."