Crisis for UK Athletics in Row over Safeguarding

Zara Hyde Peters, who was to have started in the role of CEO of UK Athletics next Monday has been forced to step down before ever stepping up in an issue over safeguarding.

Yesterday morning the organisation charged with running the sport issued a brief statement from Chairman Chris Clark confirming the news.

“Following recent press reports and significant media attention focused on Zara Hyde Peters, the UK Athletics Board convened a meeting this past Sunday 24th November and discussed the situation fully. Following the meeting, I had time with Zara to review the situation and we have agreed together, that she will now not be taking up her position as CEO on 1st December.”

Peter’s husband Mark had continued coaching at the athletics club where she serves as Vice-Chair despite being banned from teaching in 2012 over an ‘inappropriate relationship’  he was found to have previously had with a 15-year-old girl.

This would have had him in breach of safeguarding regulations in the UK, as they would here and pressure from within the sport meant that her position was seen as untenable.

It is over a year since the previous CEO Niels de Vos stepped down and now the search will have to begin again, a mere nine months out from the Tokyo 2020 Games.

The interim CEO over recent months has taken on a full-time role in another sport and it had appeared as late as Friday that the board was seeking to continue the appointment of Peters.

The sport has been rocked by the departure of Performance Director Neil Black last month, poor performance at the World Championships, lingering unease over closeness to Alberto Salazar who has recently been banned from athletics and the loss of £2 million on the running of the World Cup in London last year.

The latest crisis shows the challenges that exist in terms of high profile appointments and will be reflected upon carefully by the FAI who are expected to begin the process of appointing a formal replacement for John Delaney in the near future.

It is understood that John Foley, the former CEO of Athletics Ireland, will be appointed as the next interim CEO this week, to replace Noel Mooney who came into the role on secondment from UEFA at the height of the FAI crisis but who will be returning to Switzerland at the end of his interim term on November 30th.



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