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20/11/2020 00:00, In Blog /

The UK Athletics ‘Let’s Talk About Race’ programme launched this summer has culminated in a sport-wide commitment to tackle issues of racial inequality endorsed jointly by UKA and the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs).

  • Commitment to embed Equality Diversity & Inclusivity in all UKA and HCAF strategies
  • Ethnicity targets to be set in addition to mandatory unconscious bias training
  • Toolkit for ED&I to be created for club use
  • LTAR network to be launched to ensure delivery against the action plan

The programme was launched to review all issues related to race within the sport following the death of George Floyd. Whilst athletics in the UK is enjoyed by a diverse community, UKA CEO Joanna Coates appealed to the sport to let UKA know how it could be better at supporting Black, Asian and ethnic minorities pushing beyond a token declaration that #blacklivesmatter.

The programme launched with a series of roundtables, bringing together voices from across the athletics community to discuss Race and was followed by a series of focus groups that identified priorities which have enabled UKA to finalise the actions 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

Rob Sage, Welsh Athletics Equality lead said:

"We're delighted to be working closely with UKA and the other Home Countries Athletics Federations to ensure these committments lead to meaningful actions here in Wales. In our vision for athletics in Wales we set out our aspiration to ensure we bring new people from all backgrounds into our athletics family and that it is a community where everyone is valued and supported. We recently supported Black History Month by featuring just some of the many fantastic black welsh athletes, and we hope these actions and others will ensure there are many welsh athletes of all races to celebrate in the future."

Joanna Coates, UK Athletics CEO, said:

“Following the impact of the death 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.

‘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, said:

“The unfortunate death 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.” 

Thanks go to the respective Chairs of the focus groups; Imani Lansiquot, Yannick Phippen,  Michael Afilaka, Melanie Anning, Marcus Opoku, Mark Draisey, Sabrina Pace Humphreys