New research conducted by the Sport and Recreation Alliance shows that there is clear lack of representation of Black individuals across the board in the sport and recreation sector but tackling inequality remains a key priority for most organisations.

The findings come at a time when there are growing concerns that deep-rooted inequalities within sport and physical activity have widened amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The study focused on the survey responses of signatories to our Black Lives Matter statement who have all committed to creating opportunities that are truly accessible and inclusive.

The research shows that across the organisations which responded, just:

  • 1% of paid coaches are Black
  • 2% of volunteers are Black
  • 2% of employees are Black
  • 10% of board members are Black
  • 11% of athletes/participants are Black

According to the 2011 Census, one in five people in England are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, and it is clear from these findings that Black people are not being engaged with enough in our sector.

With this figure projected to increase to two in five people by 2051, failure to address inequalities now will only result in greater challenges when trying to accelerate long-term levels of engagement with sport and physical activity.

The survey also found that 44% of organisations felt Black individuals were at a disadvantage in their sport or recreational activity, while 31% of respondents believed that their culture was not welcoming or inclusive to people from Black communities.

Of those answering the survey, just 8% set targets for BAME individuals on boards, 1% set staff targets, and none set volunteer targets.

A Code for Sports Governance has been a game-changer in effecting positive change to the gender balance of sports boards, with women now accounting for 40% of board members across funded bodies as a result of a target which specifies boards must include a minimum of 30% of each gender.

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