UK Athletics has gone back on its claim that it would be happy to appoint another foreign head coach to replace Peter Eriksson at the end of the season, saying it would like the successful candidate to be British – and that Toni Minichiello is in the running.
Eriksson, who is Swedish, said last month he was returning home to Canada for personal reasons at the end of June with performance director Neil Black taking over head coaching duties temporarily. But Black, in place until the end of August's World Championships, has no interest in continuing in the role long-term and is hopes to find a home-grown coach instead.
"We need to look at appointing the best person," said Black. "I'd love it to be someone who is a British coach within the British system. I'd love that."
The application process has not formally opened, but there has been no shortage of interest in one of the more high-profile and well-paid jobs in global athletics.
"What we're seeing is that British coaches are feeling more confident so they're more interested in this," Black said. "They feel 'I can do this'. There's no process at the moment but people are demonstrating an interest either bycoming forward or just with theirgeneral interest."
Toni Minichiello, who coaches Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, has already said he would potentially be interested in the role. However, he has endured a fractious relationship with UKA after a public falling-out in the wake of London 2012, accusing the body of a lack of respect.
Despite such frayed relations, when asked if Minichiello was a potential candidate for the post, Black said: "Of course", adding: "One of the things that I bring to this is being completely open minded and a clean slate. I'm interested in the best solution for the team of people moving forward. Toni is there as part of that."
Eriksson will guide the team at the European Team Championships in Gateshead on 22-23 June for the last time, the line-up for which is announced tomorrow morning.
Neil Black and Peter Eriksson are ambassadors for Alfa Romeo, official car supplier to British Athletics; visit: alfaromeo.co.uk
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