British Cycling CEO Brian Facer quits after year of controversies

The governing body has recently come under fire for its new sponsorship deal with Shell UK, and its transgender policy.

Photo: Antonio Borga/Euraisa Sport Images/Getty Images

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British Cycling CEO Brian Facer has stepped down following a tumultuous 21 months in the role.

Facer took up the CEO role in January 2021, replacing outgoing chief executive Julie Harrington, who had taken over the post in 2017.

British Cycling’s delivery director Danielle Every moves in as acting CEO while the body hunts a permanent replacement for Facer.

British Cycling has come under fire several times over the last year, particularly for its transgender policy and its decision to bring on oil company Shell as a primary sponsor. It was also forced to apologize in September after it issued a recommendation that people did not cycle during the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

In a statement issued Monday, British Cycling said that Facer’s departure was by mutual agreement and that it maintained its “unwavering commitment” to its commercial partners and named new sponsor Shell specifically.

“We remain fully committed to the delivery of our ‘Lead our sport, inspire our communities’ strategy, as we continue our work to support and grow our sport and wider activities, and provide our Great Britain Cycling Team riders with the best possible platform for success,” British Cycling chair Frank Slevin said.

“Our new CEO will join the organisation at an exciting time as we build towards next year’s inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships in Scotland, and the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.”

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The eight-year sponsorship deal between British Cycling and Shell UK was denounced as “brazen sportswashing” by environmental group Greenpeace when the deal was announced earlier this month. It also described British Cycling’s assertation that the partnership would help it toward becoming net zero as being “absurd.”

The Shell logo was highly visible on British Cycling kits at the recent track world championships in France, and the deal will see the oil company sponsor the governing body through 2030.

In March, transgender cyclist Emily Bridges was prevented by the UCI from competing at the national omnium championships, despite her meeting the requirements that had been set out in the organization’s policy on transgender athletes. British Cycling had initially ruled she was allowed to compete.

Bridges competed as a male racer in British Cycling’s Academy program in 2019 and came out as transgender in 2020. She began hormone therapy in 2021 and had reduced her testosterone level to 5nmol/L for a period of at least 12 months, a requirement by both British Cycling and the UCI.

Following the decision to prevent her from competing, British Cycling suspended its own policy, a move that ultimately banned transgender women from competing at female events.

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September, the organization issued a statement advising people not to ride outdoors on the day of her funeral. Following heavy criticism, British Cycling reversed its advice and said that it had “got it wrong.”

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