Report exposes lack of diversity in UK sporting boardrooms25 November 2014


Launched by the equality campaigners Sporting Equals, the report shows that out of 45 national sports governing bodies 30 sports – two thirds of the total – have no senior BME representation and of 449 board member positions available only 14 were held by BME people.

‘Sports are stuck to their traditional marketing routes’
Chief executive of Sporting Equals Arun Kang said: “I don’t think sport has tried hard enough to bring people in. They have stuck to their traditional marketing routes. The way they would publicise jobs is through their websites or UK Sport.

“You’ve got to start thinking outside the box. These individuals are barristers and accountants – they are not necessarily going to be reading a sports magazine.”

By failing to recruit more widely and without better representation in leadership positions, Kang said he believed sports would struggle with diversity issues elsewhere.

Regarding chief executive roles, two out of 45 are held by BME people and only England Basketball has more than one BME member on its board.

Kerrith Brown, chairman of British Judo, is the only chair from a BME background among the 45 sports.

“When it comes to business, I don’t think sport has completely understood what it is all about,” said Kang.

“Thinking about what damage this does to their brand, to their relationships with key stakeholders, local brands, local community. It completely closes a door for a long time to come.”

Helen Grant, the sports minister, warned grants could be cut to sporting organisations if diversity on their boards is not improved.

Sport England stress need to respond to the communities’ needs
Sport England chief executive Jennie Price: “Sport needs to be open and attractive to all groups in society. In the modern multicultural world, responding to the needs of different communities isn’t an add-on, it’s a must-do. More diversity is needed at senior levels and it’s time for an informed debate about the best way this can be achieved.”

The findings come after a report launched by Fare and Sports People’s Think Tank (SPTT) highlighted the underrepresentation of BME coaches in English professional football.

The equality group has pledged to set up a steering group to try to help governing bodies overhaul their recruitment processes and cast their net wider when looking for potential board members and senior executives.

From The Guardian

Kerrith Brown