UK Athletics (UKA) will be forced into opening a fresh search for a chief executive after announcing today (Monday) that Zara Hyde Peters will not take up the position as planned due to concerns raised over a safeguarding issue.
Hyde Peters was named as the new chief executive of the national governing body in August and had been due to take up her new position on December 1. However, The Times newspaper reported on Friday that her husband, Mike Peters, was barred by the Department of Education in 2012 only to be allowed to look after girls as young as 16 at Coventry Godiva Harriers club without a UKA licence.
At the time Hyde Peters was coaching co-ordinator and then vice-chair at the club, and it has been alleged that she failed to tell the club about her husband’s “inappropriate relationship” with a 15-year-old schoolgirl. This related to his role as a PE teacher at Bilton High School in Warwickshire.
In a statement today, UKA chair Chris Clark said: “Following recent press reports and significant media attention focused on Zara Hyde Peters, the UK Athletics Board convened a meeting this past Sunday November 24 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 December 1.”
Hyde Peters was due to replace Niels de Vos, who announced last September that he would be stepping down from the role following an 11-year career with the body. Nigel Holl served as interim chief executive for the past 10 months but has already agreed to take up a role as executive performance director at British Curling.
The accusations in The Times had been described as “extremely serious” by the UK Sport body, while the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had called on Hyde Peters to be removed from the board of the local organising committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
BBC Sport reports that the Birmingham 2022 board will now discuss whether to temporarily suspend Hyde Peters.