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Sports National Governing Bodies: Survey concludes most sports failing badly on race representation

England Handball, Basketball England, GB Taekwondo top landmark race survey collecting data on ethnicity in sport; FA & RFU decline to take part, ECB fail to confirm receipt; data shows weakness in diverse paid senior coaching staff; no ethnically diverse CEOs reported by governing bodies

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling (left) takes a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday August 15, 2021.
Image: The aim of the Race Representation Index is to achieve a baseline measurement of ethnically diverse representation

A first-of-its-kind race representation survey collecting data on ethnicity has graded the sports sector an 'E' for diversity in senior positions.

Sky Sports News exclusively revealed during Black History Month last year that the Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel of current and former athletes were launching the Race Representation Index, scoring the progress of sports bodies towards the inclusion of Black communities, examining workforce diversity, policy and strategy, and diverse ethnic representation at national team level.

A total of 52 National Governing Bodies (NGBs) were sent the Race Representation Index to complete, with 48 NGBs (92 per cent) acknowledging receipt of the survey, with 39 completing it (75 per cent). On average, participating NGBs scored a 'D' overall.

The Football Association and the Rugby Football Union declined to take part, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) among four bodies failing to confirm they had received the paperwork from the Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel and Sporting Equals.

The panel was established by Sporting Equals in February 2021 to hold account sports organisations following the joint statement made by the Sport Recreation Alliance where over 100 NGBs of Sport committed to greater action against racism in sport following George Floyd's death.

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The Race Report Index aims to showcase best practice when it comes to measuring inclusion for black communities within sport, Sporting Equals chair Densign White MBE tells Sky Sports News' Dev Trehan

England Handball, Basketball England and GB Taekwondo topped the table with a Grade A in the Race Representation Index, which is based on a scorecard template developed to grade hiring practices in US professional and college sport. The Index examined hiring practices at Board level, in senior leadership/management teams, senior coaching, and athlete recruitment.

Rather worryingly, from 39 completed surveys there was not a single ethnically diverse chief executive of an NGB, with 90 per cent of CEOs white (35 out of 39, four did not say).

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Across the sector as a whole, senior paid coaching proved to be the weakest area in terms of ethnically diverse representation, with 15 of the 29 NGBs (52 per cent) meeting that criteria scoring an 'F' which is the lowest grade available. Only four NGBs (14 per cent) scored an 'A' here.

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Paralympic athlete and cyclist Kadeena Cox explains what the Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel has been set up to achieve

Paralympian Kadeena Cox, former England Test cricketer Devon Malcolm, Women's Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi, QPR's Chris Ramsey and netballer Ama Agbeze are among the influential current and former Black athletes that are members of the Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel.

QPR techincal director and former footballer Chris Ramsey MBE said: "The Race Representation Index is a transparent, fair and factual way to review how far the UK sport sector is progressing post their Black Lives Matter 2020 pledges to racial equality and anti-racism approaches.

"Year on year we aim to work with Sporting Equals and National Governing Bodies of Sport who are publicly funded to monitor data relating to diversity in the sports sector workforce. The facts and data that will come to light through the Race Representation Index will help us as a sector to map out evidence-driven Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies and practices which will help deliver more inclusive spaces in UK sport and improve player experiences.

Commonwealth Games netball gold medallist Ama Agbeze said: "For the Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel our chief motivation in driving the Race Representation Index with Sporting Equals was to establish a baseline of data from which we can then measure and track progression of the sport sector when looking at equity, diversity and inclusion.

"The baseline has now been established with this first set of findings and while there are successes which should be acknowledged and applauded for best practice there is, as a whole, a long way to go for sport before true racial equality will be felt and achieved.

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Devon Malcolm says the black athletes and coaches on the Sports Monitoring Advisory Panel can help drive change in the sector

"Through the Race Representation Index the sector can now drive forward race equality initiatives and mark progress with evidence, data and analysis. Commitment and tangible action is needed from the UK sport sector and post the Black Lives Matter 2020 pledges and statements we hope those two key factors will continue to be present when working to deliver race equality to UK sport."

Special advisor Professor Emeritus Kevin Hylton added: "The Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel and Sporting Equals feel that while the baseline has been established there is still much work needed from the UK sport sector before we can tangibly feel and see a more actively anti-racist and inclusive sector. Through the work of the Race Representation Index the tracking of that journey will become transparent for all to see in addition to allowing for best practice to be shared widely to allow for the cultivation of an inclusive approach to sport and physical activity."

Sky and Sporting Equals team up for British South Asians in The Game

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Sky Sports has announced a one-year partnership with Sporting Equals to support the charity’s ambition of inspiring more opportunities for British South Asians in football.

Sky has announced a partnership with Sporting Equals to support the charity's ambition of inspiring more opportunities for British South Asians in football.

The collaboration forms part of Sky's £30m commitment to tackle systemic racism and make a difference in communities across the UK and will see Sporting Equals receive a six-figure donation as part of the initial partnership.

The partnership stems from a shared desire to help tackle under-representation by addressing some of the barriers affecting the participation and progression of British South Asian football talent, particularly in the women's game.

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Look back at our feature on British South Asians in the English game

Active Lives survey data has consistently shown that South Asian women are the least physically active group in the country, and just 0.3 per cent of players in the top division of English women's football, the FA Women's Super League, hail from the British South Asian community.

Moving forward, Sky and Sporting Equals will work together to raise awareness and educate the public on this topic, collaborating with other stakeholders to create opportunities for talent to flourish, and supporting participation in the game.

Jonathan Licht, managing director of Sky Sports, said: "Sky Sports is proud to give a platform to help inspire more opportunities for the South Asian community to get involved in football.

"Collectively we are striving for greater equality in sport and, as Europe's largest sports broadcaster, we're well placed to highlight under-representation in the game and use our platforms to drive change in this space.

"Building on the excellent job Sky Sports News has done over the past year, the partnership with Sporting Equals is a step further in our commitment to ensuring all audiences feel represented by our content."

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The chief executive of Sporting Equals says helping elite-potential South Asian female footballers succeed will inspire the next generation of players from the community

Sporting Equals chief executive, Arun Kang OBE, said: "Sporting Equals is pleased to be partnering with Sky on this important work, which is a significant step towards engaging and celebrating South Asian communities in football, by removing outdated and negative stereotypes to inspire the next generation of players, coaches and football administrators.

"It is vital to highlight viable role models, which we will be doing through this project by showcasing football ambassadors, particularly South Asian females throughout community settings. This is of particular significance as part of the issue with South Asian involvement in football is that few have managed to access elite pathways in sport.

"This showcasing of South Asian role models and ambassadors sets out to inspire and connect with wider South Asian communities, so that they too can feel like they have a place in sport.

"Part of this project will also seek to educate footballing organisations about the wide range of talent that is present within South Asian communities. There are still many negative and untrue preconceived notions around South Asians and their ability and talent.

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Arun Kang says the Sky Sports and Sporting Equals partnership is a fantastic opportunity for British South Asians in football.

"With the support of Sky through this partnership we will seek to tackle this issue and demonstrate the true capabilities of South Asians in football."

Sporting Equals is an independent not-for-profit charity, whose aim is to promote ethnic diversity across the sport and physical activity sector.

Its mission is to make a sustainable difference to the inclusion of all under-represented communities in sport and physical activity to help increase participation and improve the long-term opportunities and health outcomes of those communities, as well as to grow elite-level talent.

British South Asians in Football

For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our Sky Sports digital platforms.

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