Sporting Equals Race Representation Index rating speaks of true diversity within basketball

Basketball England has received an ‘A’ grade in the Race Representation Index (RRI) for the second year in a row.  

Developed by Sporting Equals, which promotes ethnic diversity across sport and physical activity, and the Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel and funded by Sport England, the RRI seeks to understand ethnically diverse representation within national governing bodies of sport (NGBs).  

BE was ranked first out of 55 Sport England/UK Sport funded NGBs who responded to the survey, and was the only one that obtained an overall ‘A’ standard.  

Writing in the executive summary, Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel member Ama Agbeze MBE said: 

“Basketball England has achieved the highest grading, which is not by accident. They attract diverse candidates through their governance, coaching and talent pathways from a wide range of diverse backgrounds. They also have an EDI committee and have put in place EDI training to support recruitment and retention. Well done Basketball England.” 

Major shifts in diversity 

Basketball England CEO Stewart Kellett spoke at Sporting Equals’ race equality event last week to highlight BE’s active commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, as well as being an actively anti-racist organisation.  

“We are delighted by the news of our gold-standard rating for race representation,” said Kellett.  

“I wrote in the summer of 2020 that we would stand with our players, coaches and the whole community against racism, pledging to play our part in opposing hate. And that remains our promise still.   

“It’s good to be an exemplary organisation but to truly tackle inequality, we must keep being outspoken and drive the change. We will continue to strive to create a culture within English basketball that is safe, welcoming, fun and inclusive for everyone​ and will be collaborating with Sporting Equals by following its charter to support our race equality and inclusion work.” 

Alfred Nelson
BE Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager Alfred Nelson (left) speaks to a fellow delegate at race equality event.

In recent years, BE has made progress on racial diversity across areas of policy, strategy, workforce, coaching and elite talent. 

The NGB undertook a period of listening and learning and facilitated and promoted online discussions for members of the basketball community to discuss issues affecting them, collated, shared, and promoted anti-racism resources and improved the process for reporting incidents of discrimination in the game.  

BE’s recruitment practices have also been revised to be stronger, safer and more inclusive, including increasing the range of platforms used to advertise employment opportunities and bringing together ethnically diverse selection panels. This has seen major shifts in the diversity of BE’s workforce and the gathering of more insight on the barriers and motivations to playing, coaching, officiating, employment and top level of management for ethnically diverse communities.   

Forming an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and appointing an EDI manager, has helped BE take a stronger approach to tackling discrimination and promoting fairness and respect across basketball.  

BE’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager Alfred Nelson said:  

“I am pleased we came top of the index, and our second consecutive ‘A’ rating speaks of the true diversity within the sport of basketball.  

“We are lucky in many ways because basketball is a world sport that has role models from every community. The challenge is how we then serve them. What does the journey feel like for these individuals within our sport? This is where the work is, we don't want to just have a representative sport, we want an equal one. 

“Race representation and race equality are two different things. What comes next is seeing that representation feed through to all areas of the game. From officiating and governance to positions of power within the game. Race should never be a barrier to progression. We have a long way to go, but we are ready, and plan to lead the way.”  

Baseline on racial diversity in sport 

The RRI was commissioned by Sporting Equals following the Black Lives Matter protests over the murder of US citizen George Floyd in 2020. 

It aims to hold NGBs to account for pledges made and provide a baseline on racial diversity in sport, tracking year on year. 

Evaluating data against the 2021 Census and across four criteria of ‘Board’, ‘Senior Leadership/Management Teams’, ‘Senior Coaches’ and ‘Players/Athletes’, the 2022 report suggests that on the whole NGBs are more diverse at board level and their athlete base, but more needs to be done to increase diversity in coaching and management roles.  


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