In 2020, the murder of George Floyd was a catalyst for the five Sports Councils responsible for investing in and growing sport across the UK, to come together to explore racial inequalities in sport and to look at how reflective our sporting system is of UK society.
Led by the five CEOs of each organisation, this group has met regularly over the past year, and quickly established the Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality in Sport Review (TRARIIS). This was to help better understand if the Councils were doing enough to understand the context and tackle the issues involved.
The review involved an extensive analysis, carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, of all publicly available data on race and ethnicity in sport. It also involved an additional piece of work led by AKD Solutions, a Black-led Learning and Development consultancy, to carry out a lived experience research project in which over 300 people across the UK, ranging from grassroots participants to elite athletes and coaches, shared insights into their involvement in sport.
The findings make clear that racism and racial inequalities still exist within sport in the UK and that there are longstanding issues, which have resulted in ethnically diverse communities being consistently disadvantaged.
The review also highlighted the detrimental impact that this has had on individuals, leading to mistrust and exclusion and makes clear areas where we must see change. The review has produced two reports, published today, identifying where there are gaps as well as common themes. They set out recommendations on how to make meaningful progress.
UK Sport, Sport England, sportscotland, Sport Wales, and Sport Northern Ireland welcome the depth of the findings and fully accept that the recommendations should now be used to develop and deliver tangible actions to tackle the issues raised. The Councils also want to put on record their huge appreciation to all of those who shared their personal stories, a process which we know for many, will have been deeply upsetting.
Sport across the UK is delivered by a broad range of organisations. We call on them to work with us, as well as diverse communities in the UK, as we drive racial equality across all nations and in all sports.
While recognising that this process will take time, collectively, the Councils are determined to learn from the review and bring transformational change across sport, harnessing its huge power to drive equality and ensuring that all parts of the system are fair, welcoming, inclusive, and diverse and that people have positive experiences at every level.
The Councils have agreed some initial overarching commitments that all five organisations will work on together ensuring that they are aligned to their individual strategies. These relate to people; representation; investment, systems and insights and further details are set out below.
Each Council will also now work at pace to develop their own specific action plans to further deliver on these commitments, considering their own local contexts and remits, addressing the recommendations from the review.
This will involve working closely with relevant groups or communities in the coming months, to co-create solutions for real, lasting change and to earn trust. The resultant plans will be shared publicly to support the wider sports sector to understand and recognise the issues, and collectively bring about change.
All five organisations are committed to transparency and accountability and will continue to report publicly on progress. This work will continue to be led at CEO level.
Sally Munday, CEO UK Sport
Stewart Harris, CEO sportscotland
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO Sport England
Sarah Powell, CEO Sport Wales
Antoinette McKeown, CEO Sport Northern Ireland