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Scottish sporting bodies warned over poor diversity

Cricket
Cricket Scotland has had to deal with being found guilty of institutional racism

Sports bodies in Scotland are being warned to improve diversity or face government intervention.

BBC Scotland News has learned more than three quarters of sports bodies who receive public funding have no ethnically diverse board members.

Of the 47 sports receiving Scottish government funding, only wrestling is chaired by someone from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

Less than a fifth of those running the bodies are women.

The figures were provided by the governing bodies themselves to Sportscotland and obtained by the BBC.

Sport Minister Maree Todd said she did not believe the figures would improve without intervention.

"We need to find out what the barriers are and take them away. We absolutely recognise it's an area we need to improve on," she said.

"I'm a West Highland woman - It's a man's world and it's a white man's world," she added.

Ms Todd said the Scottish government could consider imposing diversity targets on governing bodies who receive public money.

"I'm more of a carrot rather than a stick minister and I want to reward the good work that's going on," she said.

Disappointing figures

The chief executive of Sportscotland, Forbes Dunlop, said he was not surprised by the figures.

"These are things we track and monitor over a period of time. Just because I'm not surprised, doesn't mean I'm not disappointed by them or motivated by them to do more," he said.

"Over the last two years, since the publication of the report into Scottish cricket, we've done a huge amount of work to change the conversation."

An independent review into Scottish cricket in 2023 found the sport's leadership to be institutionally racist.

Since then, the sport has appointed a new board and set targets regarding equality and diversity.

But after the report was released, the Scottish government admitted the problems identified in cricket were likely to exist in other sports.

Vasile Jornea
Vasile Jornea says diversity shows people that everyone is welcome in sport

Vasile Jornea, who started wrestling at the age of seven, arrived in Scotland from Moldova in 2015.

He joined a local club in Glasgow and then became a referee before getting involved in sports management.

Mr Jornea is now the development director at Scottish Wrestling.

"There are a lot of people from ethnic minorities in Scotland and having someone leading the sport will definitely give bigger exposure to the sport for other people," he said.

"It's showing that everybody is welcome. If someone from an ethnic background is at the top, it shows everyone is welcome so let's try it."

Boxing is the most high-profile Scottish sport to be led be women. Others with a good record include lacrosse, netball and rowing.

A total £20.4m of Scottish government funding was distributed to sport governing bodies for 2023/2024 and that figure is expected to rise next year.

At the moment, boardroom equality or diversity targets are not a prerequisite to that funding.

Sportscotland entered into a partnership with discrimination charity Sporting Equals in January last year.

Mr Dunlop sees this as a step in the right direction.

"All of the governing bodies are now working with some real experts from Sporting Equals," he said.

"They're looking at their policies, their procedures, their data and ultimately putting in place plans to address some of the challenges."