Big moment in fight for race equality in sport: 92% of sports take part in Race Representation Index 2023


The 2023 Race Representation Index is now published. Amongst the highlights are a best ever 92% engagement rate, four new NGBs taking part and a fifth who do not receive public money.

The 2023 Sporting Equals Race Representation Index (RRI) has seen the highest engagement rate ever, hitting 92%. This is up from 75% in the first year and 86% in the second year. The commitment shown by National Governing Bodies (NGBs) to improving race equality in sport should be celebrated across the sector. Through conducting this data collection and reporting it the sector shows positive action. Sporting Equals believes this achievement can herald a sustainable level of transparency and accountability to the public. By surpassing 90% engagement the sector has moved to a position where taking part is seen as a collective responsibility and expectation now.

As well as hitting the highest ever engagement rate the 2023 RRI welcomes four first time submissions from NGBs; The Football Association (The FA), GB Boxing, British Handball and British Volleyball. The participation of these four NGBs proves that it is possible to take part regardless of resources and time. It is a matter of priorities and these four NGBs, taking part for the first time show a cultural shift in accountability. All four of these receive public money, and of course football dominates the sports media landscape so we are pleased to see this increase in engagement.

Alongside these four NGBs British Horseracing have taken part. This is particularly noteworthy as they receive no public funding. The RRI was set up to track the journey of publicly funded NGBs in becoming more ethnically diverse. Because of the public funding it is only right that those organisations are transparent and accountable. Therefore Sporting Equals believes particular praise is due for British Horseracing who were not under any obligation to provide this information. When they asked to take part it was made clear to them that their grading would very likely not be high. Despite this warning they still wanted to participate as they could see the value created in participation. British Horseracing have set an example to all in the sport sector with their willingness to be vulnerable in the RRI.

Most categories have held at the same grade throughout the three years of reporting. While this lack of improvement is disappointing we do appreciate that change takes time. Additionally each year more NGBs have participated in the RRI but the grades held across most categories, meaning we have a consistent picture across the sport sector.

That said one category has deteriorated each year, athletes. Starting in 2021 this was Grade C on average, it was Grade D in 2022 and Grade E in 2023. Our interpretation of the data here is that the additional NGBs participating has prompted this result. The increase in NGBs taking part each year has meant more athletes / players of white ethnicity have entered the data pool, lowering the average grade.

Regardless we celebrate the progress made in the sector regarding engagement and accountability. NGBs are under pressure, as are all publicly funded organisations, so this commitment to transparency is a positive sign for the future.

The average grade for each category was as follows:

Board: C

Senior Management / Leadership Team: E

Contracted Players: E

Officials: E

Coaches: E


The RRI benchmarks data on the decision makers within NGBs. Those that decide strategy, budget, interventions and select who enters the talent pathway, this enables us to ensure those of influence are reflective of the communities we seek to engage.” Arun Kang OBE, CEO Sporting Equals

We are pleased to see a positive increase in the number of NGBs wanting to take part in the RRI survey. We have seen ongoing issues in sport where representation has been a factor in accountability and see this survey as a starting point for many NGBs to help embed diversity, equity and inclusion at the heart of what they do”. Densign White MBE, Chair of Sporting Equals.

The RRI presents ongoing opportunities for NGBs to move beyond narratives of commitment to real demonstrations of transparent progress and meaningful change regarding race equality in sport” Professor Emeritus Kevin Hylton PhD, Special Advisor Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel

EMD UK (Exercise, Movement & Dance UK) has made remarkable progress in improving its diversity. It has also made significant progress over the three years in its Board diversity, achieving a C in RRI 2021-2022, a B in RRI 2022-2023, and an A in RRI 2023-2024. EMD UK has also significantly progressed from achieving an F grade in its Senior Leadership Team in RRI 2021-2022 and RRI 2022-2023 to a B grade in RRI 2023-2024.

Download the full report here.

Notes for Editors

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In 2021, Sporting Equals and the Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel (SMAP) created the RRI to analyse black representation in senior positions in sport, this then evolved to include all ethnically diverse communities. The SMAP was established in 2020 to check and challenge National Governing Bodies (NGBs) regarding their commitment, interventions and impact on race equality in sport. The RRI, now in its third year forms part of Sporting Equal’s wider advocacy and influencing strategy supported by Sport England. The survey is a crucial baseline barometer, evaluating publicly funded NGBs of sport on their advancements in the race equality agenda, specifically focusing on ethnic diversity and representation.

Grading methodology refers to census data from 2021, showing that the population is 18.3% ethnically diverse. The Grading Table is illustrated below:

Percentage of Total (%)


















4.0 and below



* 18.3 (+10% of 18.3) An ‘A’ is based on the formula Census representation + 10% of Census representation. The ‘+10%’ ensures that the percentage achieved overtakes the ethnically diverse national representation number by a significant amount.

Grading trends over the last three years are illustrated below



Senior Leadership Team

Senior Coaches


Officiating *


2021 RRI






2022 RRI






2023 RRI







 *New in 2023

 Players and Athletes Category Over Three Years


Players and Athletes 2021 – 2023







The results of the RRI will be presented at the annual Race Equality Event conference, hosted by Sporting Equals and funded by Sport England, at the University of London on 17 April.  If press would like to attend the event we will do our best to accommodate this. Details of the event are below:

17 April 2024, 10:00-16:00

Senate House,

University of London,

Malet Street,



Speakers at the event will include: Luther Burrell (ex England Mens Rugby Union international), Jeanette Bain-Burnett (Executive Director, Sport England), Simon Mason (Head of Strategy, DCMS), Chris Jones (CEO, England Athletics), Ama Agbeze MBE (Commonwealth Gold Medal winning England Netball captain), Arun Kang OBE (CEO, Sporting Equals) and Densign White MBE (CEO, International MMA Federation & Chair, Sporting Equals)

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