The appalling death of George Floyd, the global protests that have followed and the powerful message of the Black Lives Matter movement has made every section of society take notice and confront an ugly truth.
Sport and recreation has an influential role to bring about meaningful change and this period has rightly led the sector to reflect, listen, question, learn and openly discuss how to take positive action.
It is acknowledged that up to this point, we have not done enough. It is time to confront racism and inequality that exists across sport, from grassroots participation through to the boardroom.
Research by the Sport and Recreation Alliance (2018) showed that four in ten (40%) of BAME participants have endured a negative experience in sport or physical activity settings, more than double that of white participants.
A 2020 Sport England report demonstrates that just over 50% of black people in England meet the recommended levels of physical activity each week.
The Diversity in Sport Governance report (2018/19) identified there is only 5% BAME board representation across Sport England and UK Sport funded organisations.
Constructive work has already been started to address a number of these problems including a committed effort to increase boardroom diversity, additional funding to tackle inequality and an array of inspiring inclusiveness projects from across the sport and recreation sector. This can only be seen as the start.
Systemic change must be made at all levels so that we can become truly reflective of our wonderfully diverse society. We can no longer rely on black role models at the elite level speaking out, we must join together to become better and to support every member of the sport and recreation community.
We must become more inclusive. We must create opportunities which are truly accessible. We must do more.
To help us achieve this, there has to be a commitment for a significant increase in resources and funding, as has been dedicated to address other areas of inequality. We have welcomed the recent news of the Sports Minister’s decision to review the Sports Governance Code.
There is no easy solution and change will require a consolidated approach both from within and outside of our sector. It is time to face awkward questions, to become involved in uncomfortable conversations and to hold ourselves to account.
List of Signatories
|Associated Board of Dance|
|Association for Physical Education|
|Association of British Riding Schools|
|Association of Colleges|
|British American Football|
|British Association for Shooting and Conservation|
|British Blind Sport|
|British Kite Flying Association|
|British Martial Arts and Boxing Association|
|British Mountaineering Council|
|British Nordic Walking|
|British Para Table Tennis|
|British Student Taekwondo Federation|
|British Universities & Colleges Sport|
|British Water Ski & Wakeboard|
|British Weight Lifting|
|England and Wales Cricket Board|
English Ice Hockey Association
English Indoor Bowling Association
|English Karate Federation|
|Federation of English Karate Associations|
|Golf Club Managers Association|
Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby
Karate Union of Great Britain
Lawn Tennis Association
|League Managers Association|
|Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport|
|North Yorkshire Sport|
|Northern Counties Dance Teachers Association|
|Para Dance UK|
|Rugby Football League|
|Rugby Football Union|
|Skateboard England & Skateboard GB|
|Sport Across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent|
|Sport and Recreation Alliance|
|Table Tennis England|
|The British Sub-Aqua Club|
|The Eton Fives Association|
|The Golf Foundation|
The Keep Fit Association
The Laban Guild for Movement and Dance
The National Association of Karate and Martial Arts Schools
|The Professional Golfers’ Association|
|Trail Riders Fellowship|
|Yorkshire Sport Foundation|
|Youth Sport Trust|
*Many organisations in the sector have released, or plan to release, individual statements. The signatories above have confirmed their support to this statement released by the Sport and Recreation Alliance.