Nigel Walker, National Director for the English Institute of Sport (EIS), shares his comments on addressing racism and inequality in sport.
“The Black Lives Matter movement has shone a light on the inequality of black people both at home and aboard, and this applies to sport as well as society as a whole.
“While I do not believe that sport in this country is institutionally racist, we have – as a system – turned a blind eye to issues that need addressing.
“There are some good things happening and at the EIS our Diversity Strategy, endorsed by the EIS board, is part of our submission to UK Sport for the Paris Olympic and Paralympic cycle. It centres on inclusion, equality and fairness for all sectors of our society, and seeks to ensure the EIS is representative of the whole of the country that we live in.
“To help inform this strategy, the EIS Senior Leadership Team also met with Sport England board member Chris Grant in Autumn last year to listen to his advice on simple measures we can take to increase the representation of people from a BAME background in the board room, and to increase the pool of talent available for senior positions.
“Yet we all can and should do more, including the EIS, and now is the time to drive tangible change – to seize the moment and not let this slip down the priority order. We need to put the onus on sports to make changes happen. Yes, it might be uncomfortable to begin with, but in four to five years’ time we should be seeing boards with a much better representation of BAME people.
“We have to create a level playing field so that anybody who has the talent and the desire has an equal chance of making it. It may take time, but every journey starts with small steps and we must start taking these steps now.”