Ex-UK Athletics chief gets three-year ban for racist remarks against black people - what he said

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Former UK Athletics chief, Julian Starkey, has been banned from holding an official position for three years and has his licence revoked for two years.

A former UK Athletics director has been banned from holding an official position in the sport for three years and his licence revoked over his remark that allegedly claims black people are good sprinters “because they have to get away from their burglaries”.

The Times reported Julian Starkey, 62, allegedly made the comments at a Sporting Equals Leadership in November 2022. He is accused of saying: “Usually when athletes start to be more specific in events, most black athletes tend to edge towards sprinting and hurdling…the blacks are all good at running because they have to get away from their burglaries.”

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Mr Starkey, who was also the chair of Bracknell Athletics Club in Berkshire, has since resigned from non-executive roles at England Athletics. His UK Athletics coach and officials have also been revoked for two years.

The decision was made by a UK Athletics disciplinary panel. It said: “...that holding a position in the governance structures of the national bodies was a higher position and people in the sport should rightly look up to the people in those positions. A two year ban was too lenient when considering the severity of the misconduct.”

Admitting he had made the offending remark, Mr Starkey said it was “subject to the caveat that there was a gap between the first sentence and the second sentence.” He also said he had been facing “mental issue challenges” at the time.

UK Athletics said although it acknowledged his mental health issues, it did not compensate for his actions. The report said: “He had behaved in a manner which England Athletics considered disgraceful. It added his misconduct was “totally unacceptable” and that the comment was “shocking.”

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England Athletics said: “England Athletics operates a zero-tolerance approach towards discrimination and is committed to ensuring the sport of athletics provides an inclusive, safe, and welcoming environment for everyone.

“Anyone wishing to report any incidents of discrimination is urged to do so through the appropriate channel.”

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