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Boardroom changes help sports bodies reach new governance standard

By Rob Gibson    20 Dec 2017
Sports minister Tracey Crouch said she was "delighted" with changes made by sports governing bodies
The positive, extensive changes being made will strengthen sport in the UK, increase transparency and diversity and make sure that sports leadership is more representative of modern Britain
– Tracey Crouch, minister for sport

More women and independent voices in the boardroom have seen 55 of the UK’s national sports bodies pass the first test posed by the sector’s new governance code.

With more than 1,000 pieces of evidence submitted by the deadline of 31 October, only three sports were found not to be fully compliant with the Governance Code for Sport, UK Sport and Sport England revealed today (20 December).

Of those, the British Mountaineering Council has been granted an extension to achieve compliance by April 2018, following a recent independent review of its structure.

Volleyball England has been given a three-month period to make changes to its governance and finance arrangements.

And the British Equestrian Federation met its initial requirements but is undertaking a review and is expected to report back in the New Year.

Governing bodies are required to meet the code in order to be eligible to receive public investment and assistance from UK Sport and Sport England.

The successful organisations have received letters from the two councils to confirm they have met the requirements of the code, which was introduced in April this year.

They include the largest in the country, such as the Football Association, Rugby Football Union, the England and Wales Cricket Board, British Cycling and the Lawn Tennis Association, and those with the least resources, such as British Wheelchair Basketball and England Handball.

The code requires major changes, including:

• Greater transparency, enabling participants and fans to better understand the decision-making of those leading their sports

• Reforms to board memberships, including at least 25 per cent independent members

• Commitments to greater diversity, including at least 30 per cent of each gender on boards

• Establishing boards as the ultimate decision-making authority within a sport rather than traditional councils

• Tighter term limits for board and council members to ensure a regular renewal of ideas and expertise.

Governing bodies have to remain compliant with the code and put action plans and commitments into practice.

“We’ve been clear we want our sports governing bodies to have world-leading standards of governance and I’m delighted that they have responded so positively to the introduction of the code,” said sport minister Tracey Crouch.

“The positive, extensive changes being made will strengthen sport in the UK, increase transparency and diversity and make sure sports leadership is more representative of modern Britain.”

UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl added: “Our national governing bodies should take great pride in what they’ve achieved.”

The 58 sports involved so far are the first tranche of more than 600 sporting bodies which will have to comply with the code.

The governing bodies of funded winter sports will complete the process after the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in PyeongChang.

A further 75 organisations are moving towards future compliance with tiers two and three of the code, and nearly 500 other organisations, from small sports clubs to community activity groups, have been assessed in terms of their compliance with tier one of the code.

Governance Code for Sport  Tracey Crouch  Liz Nicholl  British Mountaineering Council  Volleyball England  British Equestrian Federation 
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