Public bodies to tackle boardroom diversity in first joint review
UK Sport and Sport England have announced efforts to avoid “another false dawn” on boardroom diversity after a investigation laid bare the scarcity of black representation in positions of real power.
The governing bodies are launching their first joint review of the Code for Sports Governance, with a particular focus on “equality, diversity and inclusion” across the sector.
It emerged last month that just three per cent of board members of taxpayer-funded national governing bodies were black.
“With black, Asian and minority ethnic numbers at board and leadership levels quite rightly in the spotlight at the moment, this must not be another false dawn for addressing the racial inequalities that exist within sport, and the review of the Code for Sports Governance will serve as one of the key pieces of work on this front,” said Tim Hollingsworth, the chief executive of Sport England, last night.
Launched in April 2017, the Code for Sports Governance has accelerated the professionalisation of many national sports bodies with focus areas such as new rules to ensure at least 25 per cent are independent members and guarantees that at least 30 per cent of each gender are represented on boards. However, last month the
disclosed how a total of 64 per cent of funded NGBs had no BAME board members.
Some of the country’s biggest funded and unfunded sports bodies have only one black board member between them. No Premier League club, meanwhile, have a black owner, chairman or chief executive.
Simon Morton, chief operating officer of UK Sport, said: “We are particularly mindful of the need to ensure that boards are reflective of society across the UK. We’ve seen the power of the code to effect positive change to gender balance, and it’s right that we consider how this approach can be broadened. Our desire to conduct a substantive review into how the code can help to drive equality and diversity forms an important part of our commitment to creating a high performance system that is truly inclusive.”
Last week Eniola Aluko, the former England forward, and Paul Cleal, an adviser on improving diversity at executive level, said clear targets for governing bodies were needed to tackle the dearth in positions of real power.
Aluko, the sporting director of Aston Villa Women, suggested a target of 30 per cent should be set to increase BAME inclusion. Such a goal would bring sport broadly in line with ambitions recently set out for football by Kick It Out, the anti-discrimination campaign group. Aluko also said football should be aiming to “find a black Pep Guardiola or a black Jurgen Klopp”.
Pressure: Eniola Aluko believes ruling bodies in sport should have clear targets to rectify the lack of BAME representation