New Chair of Sporting Equals as Charity enters significant period of strategic change

Sporting Equals is pleased to welcome our new Chair, Dr Howard Haughton. Howard joins us at an exciting time for the Charity as we also welcome four new Trustees, to be announced next week. Having been founded as a charity in 2007 by three ethnically diverse women, Lorraine Deshamps MBE, Beverley Mason FRSA and Angela Francis, who worked tirelessly to ensure the race equality charity was set up to eradicate racism in sport. The Charity has worked to build a fairer and more inclusive sport sector through its race equality work, and uses sport to build stronger and healthier communities.

Setting up the charity was not without its challenges, not least that race equality in sport was an uphill battle. Since 2020 the race inclusion agenda has become far more prominent, and discussions are now much easier in the sector. 20 years ago, race inclusion was simply not a priority for the sport and physical activity sector. This meant the founders encountered substantial barriers and resistance to this cause.

With the last two founding Trustees, Beverley and Lorraine, stepping down within a year having served their maximum terms, the new cohort of Trustees will be seizing the baton. Under Howard’s leadership the new and existing Board of Trustees will deliver that same passion and energy for race equality that the co-founders have. This will ensure the mission of the Charity, for further diverse representation and inclusion, is the focal point of the Charity. 

Howard joins us with a sporting background rooted in both high performance and a passion to address inequalities. In his youth Howard was a high performance athlete in both martial arts and athletics. He also brings with him a wealth of experience in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. He has a strong background in government policy and working with high level private business leadership. With an academic career including a PhD spanning University of Oxford, University of York and University of Wolverhampton he is now a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London. His background in research and influencing government policy will be essential in the next steps for Sporting Equals.

Howard sees sport as a microcosm of society and that by tackling the inequalities faced by ethnically diverse people in sport and physical activity, this will improve opportunities and prospects for the communities we serve.

The Charity is grateful to Densign White MBE, who served the maximum term as Chair. Densign was integral to the progress the Charity has made in the last ten years and prevailed over the launch of the Race Representation Index, the expansion of LeaderBoard and the Sporting Equals Awards, all set up to meet the needs of the sector and be of maximum value to our stakeholders.

Dr Howard Haughton, incoming Chair of Sporting Equals “I am delighted to accept this position and join a genuinely progressive and innovative Charity. Sporting Equals has triumphed in driving change and making the sport and physical activity sector more inclusive. Since 2007 it has been an independent Charity and using that status it has been a demanding, critical friend for the sector. I look forward to supporting our staff, trustees, peers and partners in making sport and physical activity a more inclusive sector.”

Arun Kang OBE, Chief Executive of Sporting Equals said “Following in Densign’s footsteps is no mean feat but Howard is the ideal person to ensure we maintain this momentum and continue the mission of our co-founders; Lorraine, Beverley and Angela, who we hope will be proud of the future successes of the Charity. Howard’s background is absolutely critical in influencing change through policy and data. His passion for addressing inequalities is clear from the moment you speak with him and he will be a true champion for race equality, sport participation and community cohesion, an element of work that is dear to all our hearts at Sporting Equals.”



Sporting Equals was established as a project in 1998 in partnership with the Commission for Racial Equality and Sport England to support National Governing Bodies with their race equality work.

Sporting Equals shifted its focus and in 2005 become a standalone autonomous organisation – an independent voice to serve ethnically diverse communities, promote community cohesion and, importantly, to take action to eradicate racism in sport. Lorraine Deschamps MBE, Angela Francis and Beverley Mason, FRSA are the co-founders. Sporting Equals achieved charitable status in 2007. 

Since that charitable status was achieved the Charity has delivered some key milestone projects and programmes. Highlights include:

The Race Representation Index – launched in 2021 this annual report analyses the senior workforce diversity data of national governing bodies (NGBs). Specific groups it looks at are Board, Senior Management Team, Professional Coaches, Contracted Players and Officials. The rationale is that by transparently reporting this data to the public, NGBs are held accountable and able to illustrate their journey to greater race equality. In the most recent iteration of the index a 92% engagement rate was achieved.

LeaderBoard – while the Race Representation Index identifies gaps in diversity for the sport and physical activity sector LeaderBoard helps to address these. Rather than promoting diversity as a tokenistic gesture, LeaderBoard promotes diversity as an essential element. Candidates for LeaderBoard have a professional background that means they add value to a Boardroom beyond the colour of their skin. The programme trains and empowers the candidates to speak with authority and confidence. Vitally it builds bridges between ethnically diverse communities and the current Board and senior leadership teams, allowing candidates to network, feel welcome and apply for roles with confidence.

The Race Discrimination Support Service – a world first pro-bono legal support programme. Victims of racism in sport and physical activity are able to get legal advice before taking any action. This provides them with confidence on what the risk and reward of taking any action may be. The service often results in mediation, reducing conflict and finding sustainable solutions that reduce the risk of recurrence.

The Sporting Equals Awards – returning for the first time post-COVID in October 2023 the awards are a celebration of the achievements and contributions of ethnically diverse people and communities in sport. Categories focus on elite to grass roots participation. The Awards help develop role models, celebrate diversity and show the wider commitment of the sector to race equality.

Terminology and Language – Sporting Equals ran a campaign to end the use of the word BAME and to charge the sector with being more specific and inclusive in its language. By educating on the rationale behind these linguistic choices the Charity empowered the sector to think and behave differently in a sustainable manner. The language resource looks at why these choices matter and how they impact ethnically diverse people and communities.

Interviews with Dr Howard Haughton and Arun Kang OBE may be available on request. For enquires please email

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