Changing the face of Scottish Sport: sportscotland and Sporting Equals deliver Scottish LeaderBoard 

For the first time in Scotland, sportscotland and Sporting Equals are delivering a programme to diversify the boardrooms of Scottish sport.  

Beginning with a two-day conference this week, hosted at the sportscotland National Training Centre in Inverclyde, the course will empower 15 pioneers of change to diversify sport governing body boardrooms. 

LeaderBoard is delivered by UK race equality charity Sporting Equals and over the course of the programme, participants are trained in a variety of areas to allow them to influence the direction of travel in senior leadership across sport. LeaderBoard gives participants the toolkit, language and expertise to represent ethnically diverse communities through their lived experiences. 

The aim of LeaderBoard is to advance race equality across sport. Participants will have empathy and understanding of barriers encountered by ethnically diverse communities in sport and empowered by LeaderBoard, will be able to help remove those barriers. 

Topics covered in the three-day programme include, “Influencing Boardrooms”, “Equality Legislation” and “History of Race Inclusion in Sport”. The 15 participants will also hear from a number of influential speakers such as former professional football Kevin Harper and former basketball Team GB captain Keron Achara MBE, who was also a previous participant in LeaderBoard in England and get the chance to network with them and one another to share lived experiences.  

The delivery of LeaderBoard by sportscotland and Sporting Equals is part of the journey for Scottish sport to be more racially inclusive and through a strategic plan, the partnership is delivering systemic change. As well as LeaderBoard key initiatives include launching a Scottish Race Representation Index, measuring the ethnic diversity of senior leadership in each sport, as well as delivering a policy review for SGBs, ensuring a robust inclusive framework of operation for Scottish sport. 

This year’s cohort is 15 strong and represents a spectrum of Scotland’s sporting community. Their ethnic heritage includes Indian, Pakistani, Black African, Mixed and Asian. Coming from Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Kinross the gender split is 47% women, 53% men with an age range of 21 to 76 and an average age of 46. 

Arun Kang OBE, CEO of Sporting Equals: “The launch of Scottish LeaderBoard is a significant milestone in the journey of Scottish sport to be more racially inclusive. Through the lived experiences represented by our cohort, change will come from the top. I applaud sportscotland and the SGBs who are engaging so positively with this opportunity.” 

Forbes Dunlop, Chief Executive of sportscotland told us; “We are delighted to be launching the LeaderBoard programme here in Scotland in partnership with Sporting Equals, who are experts in the field of race equality in sport. This programme is a significant step in supporting and creating opportunities to produce a more diverse and representative leadership across governing body boards in Scotland.   

Our strategy as the national agency is clear that inclusion must underpin everything we do, and this is an example of the steps we are taking to deliver meaningful change.” 

Leaderboard Academy participant, Sara Naveed told us: “I am delighted to be part of the first Scottish Sporting Equals LeaderBoard Academy and really looking forward to engaging with and learning from my fellow programme participants, and from individuals who have been involved in the academy and have influenced real and meaningful change across the sporting sector in the UK. 

I really hope that through the LeaderBoard programme, it can provide myself as a young female Muslim to represent my community and others, with the stepping stone needed to find the best route into sports administration and leadership.”  

Notes for Editors 

Sporting Equals was founded in 1998 as partnership between the Commission for Race Equality and Sport England. Since 2007 it has been an independent charity working with sports governing bodies, Sport England, Sport Scotland, Active Partnerships and corporate partners to deliver local intervention and national projects. 

The Race Representation Index launched in 2021 measuring the work force data of senior leadership in national governing bodies of England. Leadership groups include board, senior management team, contracted coaches and contracted coaches. In 2023, for the first time, officiating data was collected, and the analysis included British Governing Bodies. The first iteration had an engagement rate of 76%, the second was nearly 90%. The 2023 iteration will be published in April 2024. 

Other major projects delivered by Sporting Equals include the Race Discrimination Support Service, a pro-bono legal aid service that allows victims of racism to secure justice. The Sporting Equals Awards, coined the “MOBOs of Sport” by the iPaper, celebrate ethnically diverse athletes, coaches and communities in sport.  

Representatives at the dinner this year include Scottish Netball, Scottish Gymnastics, Bowls Scotland, Scottish Student Sport, Scottish Club Sport, Scottish Sport Futures, Scottish Squash, Scottish Golf, Scottish Rowing, Badminton Scotland, British Swimming and Commonwealth Games Scotland.  

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