Cyclocross World Championships organiser quits over Arkansas anti-transgender laws 

Brook Watts, the longstanding promoter of US CX races, says he cannot continue as organiser under the circumstances  

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The organiser of the 2022 Cyclocross World Championships has resigned over anti-trans legislation in the host state Arkansas.

Brook Watts, a longstanding promoter of CX races in the US, announced he would be stepping down from his role as “the situation in Arkansas remains problematic.” 

Sporting events scheduled to be held in Arkansas are currently under fire after lawmakers introduced new legislation limiting the rights of transgender people.

Watts, the former organiser of the Cross Vegas event held alongside the Interbike trade show, previously said he would not have submitted his bid to host the World Championships in 2022 if he had know about Arkansas’s plans for anti-trans legislation.

After selling the Cross Vegas event, Watts became the race director of the UCI World Cup cyclocross round in Waterloo and was due to organise another World Cup round in Fayetteville, Arkansas this season. 

Announcing his resignation on social media, Watts said: “It is with the greatest disappointment that I share with the cyclocross community today that I will no longer be participating as the race organiser of the 2022 cyclocross World Championships. Additionally, I will not be involved in World Cup Fayetteville. 

“The situation in Arkansas remains problematic and unfortunately, I don’t see any satisfactory resolution. 

“I hope you will see this does not compromise my 40+ year love for cyclocross, but rather demonstrates my commitment to making the sport even better.”

In 2018 Watts submitted a bid for Fayetteville, Arkansas to host the 2022 Worlds, with the state officially being given the right the hold the event by the UCI in 2019. 

But Arkansas recently introduced what it calls the “Fairness in Women’s Sport Act,” which bans transgender women and girls from competing in sports consistent with their gender. 

As a result, more than 500 college athletes signed a letter calling for events not to be held in any states that ban transgender people from competing in sports. 

This sparked concerns that the boycott could hit the cycling events scheduled in Arkansas, including the World Cup in October 2021 and the Worlds in January 2022. 

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Watts added: “For those who know me, my passion and commitment to the growth of cyclocross in the US has always been front and centre. In departing from my position as race organiser, I feel I’ve left a mark by designing a unique World Championship-worthy course as well as a cyclocross park that will serve aspiring future champions.

“I remain dedicated to continuing to use my position of influence in the cyclocross community to fight for equity in racing and to ensure that the sport is accepting and welcoming to all.”