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Policy: Government to get tough with NGBs which fail to adhere to new diversity targets

Government to get tough with NGBs which fail to adhere to new diversity targets

Published in Sports Management 30 May 2016 issue 121
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Cameron announced the measures during his Anti-Corruption Summit / MediaPictures.pl / Shutterstock.com
Cameron announced the measures during his Anti-Corruption Summit/ MediaPictures.pl / Shutterstock.com

Sports governing bodies will have to appoint at least 30 per cent of its board from under-represented gender groups and will be targeted to increase ethnic minority members if they wish to receive public funding.

The stipulation is one of a number of measures announced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part of the UK Charter for Sports Governance which was published earlier this month.

Organisations that want to continue to receive money from the government’s funding partners UK Sport and Sport England will have to make sure the disabled population is adequately represented on boards, and may also enforce a quota of 25 per cent of board members to be completely independent to “provide a constructive challenge” to the body.

Term limits and the size of boards will also be capped, while those who are asked to hold senior positions in sport will be required to sign a declaration stating that they are of ‘good character’ before their appointment is ratified.

Governing bodies will be asked to be transparent with their accounts for stakeholder and public scrutiny.

While the government has outlined the main themes of the document, the full code will not be finalised until later this year following a period of work by UK Sport and Sport England. The announcement coincided with the Anti-Corruption Summit which was hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron.

David Evennett, the acting sports minister who is covering Tracy Crouch’s maternity leave, said the publication of the code means a “consistent approach so that organisations know exactly what is expected”.

“Sport bodies have to be accountable for the public money they receive and we are absolutely clear that those that do not adhere to the new code will not receive public funds in the future,” he added.

The code was first unveiled as part of the government’s comprehensive Sporting Future strategy document published last December, and follows a stark period for sporting governance amid scandals at FIFA and the IAAF.

It also comes shortly after culture secretary John Whittingdale warned the Football Association (FA) for not implementing the required governance reforms on its Council, and threatened to pull the £30m (US$43.3m, €40m) funding it receives through government funding partner Sport England if the situation is not addressed.

Whittingdale said he was “disappointed” that the football governing body had “rejected the opportunity to reform its outdated and unrepresentative governance model” and would move all taxpayer and National Lottery funding to other organisations if no progress was made.

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