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UK Athletics' 'Lets Talk About Race' programme leads to Diversity Action Plan for 2021

The UK Athletics (UKA) ‘Let’s Talk About Race’ programme, launched this summer, has led to a sport-wide committal through a Diversity Action Plan to tackling the issues of racial inequality, jointly endorsed by UKA and the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs).

The programme was first launched to review the issues relating to race within sport, reflecting the social movements across the world following the tragic death of George Floyd in the US, by UKA CEO Joanna Coates, who appealed to the UKA to learn how it could better improve its long-term support of ethnically diverse communities.

Following a series of roundtables that featured those from across the athletics community to discuss race, as well as focus groups who identified main priorities, the UKA and the HCAF have now finalised its plans to be taken forward as part of the 2021-2024 Diversity Action Plan.

The headline actions agreed by the CEO forum include:

  • A sport-wide commitment to address racial inequality in athletics

  • Embedding ED & I in UKA & HCAF strategies

  • Diverse representation at all levels of athletics e.g. Developing a Club ED & I toolkit for use

  • Development & Education e.g. Mandatory unconscious bias/ED&I training in coaching, officials and workforce qualifications

  • Develop mentoring/shadowing programmes

  • Policies e.g. Develop and implement a Race Equality Code of Conduct agreement for officials

“Following the impact of the murder of George Floyd, UKA felt it essential to engage with the sport and take positive action against racism by delivering the ‘Let’s talk about Race’ programme in line with our commitments to the Race at Work Charter,” said Coates.

“We are very proud of the work undertaken so far on this having committed to real change within the sport. But agreeing the plan is only the first step. The recommendations will be taken forward as part of our 2021-2024 Diversity Action Plan, and the sport will need to work collectively to make these changes.”

Donna Fraser, Equality, Diversity and Engagement Lead at UK Athletics, added: “The murder of George Floyd sparked positive and negative conversations about race around the world and although a heart-breaking experience, we took the time to reach out to the athletics community to understand the true feelings and experiences within our sport.

“The passion and commitment to make change from those who supported the programme really shone through and I thank them for their honesty. This is the start of a journey and I have no doubt that the athletics community will hold myself and the senior leaders at UKA and the HCAF’s accountable for the Let’s Talk About Race deliverables.”

Author: Jake Wilkin