New head of UK Athletics loses job days before it starts

Sean Ingle
<span>Photograph: Sport In Pictures/Alamy Stock Photo</span>
Photograph: Sport In Pictures/Alamy Stock Photo

Zara Hyde Peters has lost her role as the new chief executive of UK Athletics following claims that she failed to tell her local athletics club about her husband’s “inappropriate relationship” with a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

Hyde Peters was due to start her £200,000 role next week but she had come under growing pressure with UK Sport calling the accusations “extremely serious” and the Commonwealth Games Federation calling for her to be temporarily removed from the board of Birmingham 2022.

UK Athletics had initially been extremely supportive when the story broke in the Times on Friday but it decided her position was untenable following an emergency board meeting on Sunday.

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In a statement the chair of UKA Chris Clark confirmed the news. “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,” he added.

The Times reported last week that Mike Peters was barred by the Department of Education in 2012 but was then allowed to look after girls as young as 16 at Coventry Godiva Harriers without a UKA licence. At the time Hyde Peters was coaching co-ordinator and then vice-chair at the club.

While Peters was acquitted of sexual misconduct in court, the official judgment of a subsequent teacher misconduct panel found he had committed “misconduct of a serious nature”, which included an “exchange of inappropriate photographs” with a vulnerable pupil while he was a PE teacher at Bilton High School in Warwickshire.

EUGENE, OR - JUNE 25:  Alberto Salazar the coach of Galen Rupp watches  the Mens 10,000 Meter during day one of the 2015 USA Outdoor Track &amp; Field Championships at Hayward Field on June 25, 2015 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Alberto Salazar (Credit: Getty Images)

The latest incident will only add to the turmoil at UKA, which is funded to the tune of £27m in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics by UK Sport. In October its performance director, Neil Black, stepped down after the team failed to hit its medal target at the World Championships and the organisation is still facing questions over its closeness to the Nike Oregon Project in the wake of Alberto Salazar’s four-year ban for anti-doping.

It is understood that a UKA review into Hyde Peters’ actions, which was announced on Friday, will continue. Meanwhile UKA will be starting its recruitment for a new chief executive from scratch with Nigel Holl, who was the interim CEO after the departure of Niels de Vos, having gone to take charge of GB curling.

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