Aluko backs targets to increase BAME boardroom roles

Report by the The Telegraph found 64 per cent of tax-payer funded national sports governing bodies have no BAME members

Last Updated: 07/07/20 12:17pm

Eni Aluko was speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Eni Aluko was speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Eni Aluko was speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Former England international Eni Aluko has backed the introduction of targets to increase the number of BAME individuals at the top level of sport in the UK.

A report by The Telegraph in June found that 64 per cent of tax-payer funded national sports governing bodies (NGBs) have no BAME board members.

The newspaper also found that just three per cent of board members at the NGBs are black, and that no Premier League side has a black owner, chairman or chief executive.

Aluko – who won over 100 caps for England and is now director of women’s football at Aston Villa – was speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee when she was asked about imposing targets on BAME representation in boardrooms within sport.

She said: “I think at this point we have to. There has to be something intentional about change. When you rely on self- regulation and people doing it themselves, they tend to just fall back into a comfort zone of what they’ve always done.

“I think we do need a target – I know the 30-per-cent target was mentioned earlier. I think that’s a good one in terms of it being something that you can always strive and achieve towards.”

Aluko ended her career at Juventus in 2019 Aluko ended her career at Juventus in 2019

Aluko ended her career at Juventus in 2019

Aluko – who also played for Chelsea, Charlton and Juventus – added that her role at Villa has shown her the value of casting a wide net to recruit the best available candidates for a role, regardless of their ethnicity.

She said: “We are still seeing a glass ceiling to a certain extent from where we’ve gone to having great representation on the pitch. But that transition doesn’t necessary reflect when it goes off the pitch into the boardroom and even in ownership.

“The way to tackle it is about recruitment; recruitment behaviour and recruitment patterns. When we are looking for the best talent, are we fishing in a wide enough pool to find that talent or are we doing what we’ve always done which is safe and recruiting from the people that we all know and that look like us?

“Once you fish in a wider sea, you’ll be surprised at what you find in terms of the pool of talent. For me, as a new sporting director, and for owners, if you want the best talent you really should – it’s in your interest – look as widely as possible.”

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