Kick It Out Chairman Launches Tirade Against Those Prioritising Women Over Other Marginalised Groups

The Chairman of Kick it Out, the anti discrimination body for English football launched a scathing tirade against the new sports governance code, stating that women were being prioritised over other more vulnerable groups.

Lord Ousley reacted to the publication of ‘A Code for Sports Governance’ by launching a scathing attack on those who wish to see at least 30% of the boards in sport become women.

The chairman of the Gay Football Supporters’ Network was also outraged that women had been targeted for preferential treatment before LGBT and disabled groups were considered.

The government groups UK Sport and Sport England which wrote the code were said to be in discussion about whether to implement the same targets for LGBT and disabled people amidst the consultation of over 330 groups which campaign for marginalised people.

The feedback given was that the levels of integration discussed were neither achievable nor desirable, but that governing bodies ought to aim to reform industries from the top down. These organisations should also be made to publish annual progress reports.

But Ouseley branded that plan “pathetic”, furiously denouncing the notion by saying that: “Quite frankly, the suggestion is, ‘F--- ethnic minorities’ – that’s quite frankly where it’s at – ‘and disabled people’.

“When people talk about diversity, there is a need for more women to be seen to be progressing – and quite right that that is the case. But that is being seen as the priority and, therefore, everything else falls away. There is no equality amongst all the protected groups who should be considered for equal treatment.”

Ousely has long been an advocate of equal rights, quitting his role with the FA council in 2012 due to what he saw as institutionalised racism. He claimed that anger about the code was ubiquitous.

“There are lots of people across the sports spectrum that I’ve spoken to who are absolutely up in arms,” he said, suggesting many were too frightened to speak out for fear of losing their jobs.

“I can protest, I can say things, but there are a lot of people who are s--- scared to talk and that is part of the problem.” 

An “upset” GFSN chairman, Ed Connell, decided to comment, saying of the code: “It simply doesn’t seem to make any sense. It looks as though you’re deciding there are certain groups which need greater protection than others.

“We must be working towards having diverse governing bodies in sport full stop.” 

The publication of the code was welcomed by the chairman of equality campaigners Sporting Equals, Densign White.

“There is an expectation within the code that sports organisations will widen their recruitment pool to attract professional applicants with broad-ranging skills, experience and networks that organisations are in need of, thus, increasing the diversity of thought within an organisation,” he said.

“Diversity is truly the golden thread that runs through the code, giving opportunities to black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals who will be able to compete on a level playing field for non-executive board positions.” 


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