Arun Kang OBE Statement on BAME Leadership in Sport

We at Sporting Equals have been continually challenging the lack of fair representation of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities in sport and particularly in leadership roles, as we feel the lack of diversity at decision making level equates to a loss of empathy or intervention. The recent revelations and abhorrent crimes against the Black community have only strengthened our view, passion and drive to continue to solve the issue of racial bias in the sport and physical activity sector. 

Without the insight of BAME communities, there is a clear gap in representation of societal views and perspectives which are key and valid for progression. Who else would be able to highlight the challenges and barriers BAME communities experience? This is why interventions and messaging can be inaccurate and advancement is stunted for the sector.  

The lack of diversity in boardrooms and senior management is linked directly to the culture of the organisation from their policies, procedures and unwritten practices. No amount of positive messaging can hide the lack of opportunities for BAME in senior management, talent, coaching or board leadership. That is how you can gauge if an organisation is truly inclusive.  

We need to prioritise engaging and uplifting racial minorities to break down the historic barriers that have prevented BAME communities from accessing leadership roles. Our LeaderBoard Academy is a programme that aids in equipping and skilling BAME individuals with the knowledge and connections to be able to access board-level roles. 

Nevertheless, we endeavoured in our pursuit for leadership diversity and have delivered the programme since 2018 in partnership with the University of Leicester. Over one-third of our LeaderBoard graduates found board roles within six months of graduating from our programme and we hope that through such programmes we can provide a solution to the issue of underrepresentation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in sports leadership roles. 

We want to continue to support and uplift BAME communities to attain roles of power and influence, particularly in sport and physical activity. Who in turn will implement interventions and break down the systemic racism in sport that only they could recognise as necessary. 

It is time for the sector to stand in solidarity to eradicate racism, not with words but with actions that drive success for equality and change, starting with implementing a commitment to targets for BAME leadership roles. We invite each and every one of you to support us in this endeavour through advocacy, fundraising and allyship. Together we can make change. – Arun Kang OBE, CEO Sporting Equals