Last week the Sports People’s Think Tank produced its annual report which once again highlighted a lack of representation of BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnicity) professional football coaches within the game.
It came as no surprise to former Blackburn Rovers striker Jason Roberts, although he was positive that change had the potential to occur.
So what about representation of BAME within administration or board level roles within sport? At a Sporting Equals event in London, the figures were stark.
Recent audits conducted by Sport England and UK Sport on the equality and diversity profile of the boards of National Governing Bodies of sport (NGB’s) and senior management teams illustrate that there is a significant lack of BAME diversity.
Figures from 2015 suggest that only 17 out of 604 board positions (2.8 per cent) have BAME members and only one has a BAME CEO.
Sport England’s Phil Smith addressed the event and also told Sky Sports News HQ: “It’s time for action. We need to change things and have greater representation
“We see it in participation, but it’s not reflected in the boardroom.”
A number of action plans will be put in place. Sporting Equals’ Leader Board Academy will support the sport sector to “engage, attract and recruit diverse ethnic talent including professionals and former athletes onto their boards”.
Smith added: “Where public money is at stake, how to bring about change means we need to look at funding for NGB’s that don’t look at greater representation, that don’t buy into what we’ve been talking about.”
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson believes the positive action of looking into greater representation of BAME at board level should also include women and disabled candidates.
“How many disabled people work on Paralympic or even Olympic programmes? Not many,” she said.
However, Baroness Grey-Thompson was positive about the need and willingness to bring about BAME representation at sporting board level in the UK.
Wasim Khan, chief executive of Leicestershire County Cricket Club backed the measures announced by Smith, but warned against quotas or targets ever being introduced.
He said: “I’d like to think I’m in my position because of what I’ve brought to Leicestershire [two years of profit after five years of losses].
“It needs to be positive action, not targets or quotas. The last thing needed would be people from BAME backgrounds on boards to tick boxes and that weren’t really allowed or expected to contribute.”
Khan also spoke positively about change being driven within cricket.
He said: “Over 30 per cent of all people who play cricket in England are south Asian. Four of the England team are south Asian.
“They are role models and I believe the ECB understands this and cricket as a whole is moving in a positive direction.”
Source – Sky Sports News – http://www.skysports.com/more-sports/other-sports/news/29876/10668538/sport-england-backs-calls-for-greater-diversity-in-boardrooms
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