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New academic review of sport in UK confirms racial inequalities still exist and lays out recommendations for improvement

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24 June 2021

New academic review of sport in UK confirms racial inequalities still exist and lays out recommendations for improvement

Extensive analysis of data on race and ethnicity in sport by academics at Sheffield Hallam University has found that racism and racial inequalities still exist, with longstanding issues leading to ethnically diverse communities being consistently disadvantaged within sport in the UK.

Press contact: Nicky Swire | nicky.swire@shu.ac.uk

SIRC racial equality report

The Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality in Sport (TRARIIS) review was commissioned by five UK sports councils (UK Sport, Sport England, sportscotland, Sport Wales and Sport Northern Ireland) to explore racial inequalities in sport and look at how reflective the national sporting system is of UK society. 

The review has resulted in two reports: Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality in Sport and Tell Your Story, which provides a glimpse into the lived experience of over 300 ethnically diverse participants engaging in sports and physical activities. The review identifies gaps as well as common themes, and a set of recommendations are laid out for how meaningful progress can be made by sports organisations across the UK.

The review, carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, involved comprehensive analysis of all publicly available data on race and ethnicity in sport. It was conducted alongside a lived-experiences research project in which over 300 people across the UK shared insights into their involvement in sport, from grassroots participants to elite athletes and coaches. This project was led by AKD Solutions, a Black‐led learning and development consultancy. 

Professor Simon Shibli, Head of Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with UK Sport and the four home country Sports Councils on the Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality in Sport research. A key finding for us is that people from diverse ethnic communities are underrepresented in sport and physical activity both in participation and the workforce.  These issues are two sides of the same coin. Whilst the two reports show that racism and racial inequality are present in sport, we believe that sport can be part of the solution.”

The five sports councils’ CEOs (Sally Munday, UK Sport; Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England; Stewart Harris, sportscotland; Sarah Powell, Sport Wales and Antoinette McKeown, Sport Northern Ireland) collectively said: “We 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.

“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.

“We also want to put on record our 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.”

Each council will work at pace to develop their own specific action plans related to people; representation; investment, systems and insights to address the recommendations of the review. 

 

In this story

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Press contact

Nicky Swire

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Phone: 01142 252811

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