The England sports bodies of the nation’s more than 80 sports – including the Rugby Football Union, Lawn Tennis Association, British Cycling, UK Athletics and England Netball – have issued an unprecedented statement that they have not done enough to confront racism at all levels, from grassroots participation to boardroom participation.
England sports vs Racism
The statement, published by the Alliance for Sport and Recreation, says that sports can no longer rely solely on elite-level black role models and that systemic change must be made so that sport can become more inclusive and “really reflect our wonderfully diverse society.”
Work released last week found that one black board member was in between the Football Union, RFU, England sports and Wales Cricket Board, LTA, England Tennis, UK Athletics and British Cycling. The sports minister, Nigel Huddleston, said he was going to review the sport governance code. To determine whether boards should have a goal for representing BAME.
The statement also highlights Sport and Recreation Alliance research showing that 40 per cent of BAME participants have experienced negative sport or physical activity settings. More than double that of white participants.
It also cites a 2020 survey by England sports that only over 50 percent of black people in England. They follow the required rate of physical exercise per week. And that there is just 5% representation on the BAME board through organisations by Sport England and UK Sport.
“Constructive work has already begun to address a number of these issues. Including committed efforts to increase diversity in boardrooms, additional funding to address inequality. And a range of inspiring inclusive projects across the sport and recreation sector”. The statement adds. “That can only be as the beginning.
The sports also called on the government to dedicate to a “significant increase in resources and funding”. As in other areas of inequality. “There is no simple solution and reform would take a coordinated strategy both internally and externally to our industry.”