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A Code for Sports Governance: Industry reaction

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The government’s new guidelines for governance may prove to be challenging for a number of NGBs, although, predictable, many appear to be making the right noises about embracing the requirements.

Greg Clarke, chair of the Football Association

"The FA welcomes the new Governance Code for Sport in the UK. It will help ensure that governing bodies are moving in the right direction and are creating the most effective environment for their sports to thrive.

“It will rightly protect public investment in sport by ensuring that transparency, controls and financial probity are pre-requisite for all organisations in receipt of Government money. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Sport England."

Colin Graves, chair of England and Wales Cricket Board

“Effective governance of sporting bodies is critical to ensuring integrity and credibility with the public.

“The England and Wales Cricket Board therefore welcomes the new Code for Sports Governance, which sets out clear and sensible minimum standards that all sporting bodies should meet to ensure strong governance across UK sport.”

David Gregson, chair of the Lawn Tennis Association

'I firmly believe that well governed enterprises are better at what they do with proper governance structures around them. I have seen the benefits of this personally in sport, government, the charity sector and in commercial life.

“As a result, I wholeheartedly support the new Code as an essential next step, as the sports sector moves towards the highest standards of corporate governance. There is a lot still to be done.

“However this Code will be an invaluable benchmark over the next few years against which all sports, including tennis, should be judged in order to gain access to public funding. Sport in this country will, in my view, be better as a result.'

Densign White, chair of Sporting Equals

"Sporting Equals welcomes the new Code for Sports Governance and believe it’s a positive step towards fairness and inclusion that will ultimately help more communities to access sport at their chosen level.

“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.

“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."

Sally Hancock, chair of Women in Sport

“At Women in Sport, we are pleased to see the government formally adopting our recommendation of at least 30% gender diversity on sport boards and we remain committed to supporting organisations who want to make these positive changes.

“Women in Sport believes that this new governance code represents a significant step towards improving and sustaining standards for gender balance in the sector. Applying it in a proportionate way will empower as many funded organisations as possible to embrace the new code with confidence.

“Our charity wants to see all sports organisations benefitting from greater gender balance in their leadership, regardless of their size or income, and fairly representing the public that funds them.”

Emma Boggis, Sport and Recreation Alliance chief executive

“Building on the strong principles established in our own Voluntary Code of Good Governance, which has over 100 signatories, the Code and the detailed guidance within it outline a number of important areas to further enhance the governance, culture and decision making within our sector. The five principles of structure, people, communication, standards and conduct and policies and processes cover the crucial elements of what makes a well-run organisation.

“The Code sets out a positive and ambitious direction of travel for our sector, and whilst some of the specific requirements will be challenging to some, we look forward to working with our members, the wider sector and with UK Sport and Sport England to further deliver the highly skilled and transparent culture of decision making that our sector and the public deserve.”

Mark Davies, chair of Archery GB

“Good corporate governance is the oil in any efficient machine - something without which no organisation can run to its maximum output. Whether you are talking about a whole sport, a club, a charity or a business, it is hard to see how you can build a winning strategy without it.

“Breadth and depth of input - a wider world view - is crucial to successful outcomes. Without good corporate governance, you don’t get it."

Matt Neville, chair of British Gymnastics

“Good governance is the cornerstone for success in business. It is crucial to our members that British Gymnastics operates with integrity and displays the highest standards when governing Gymnastics in the UK.

“The new Code for Sports Governance sets a benchmark for all sporting bodies and British Gymnastics, in committing to this code, will continue to be a national governing body that instils confidence and trust in its members and partners.”

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The government’s new guidelines for governance may prove to be challenging for a number of NGBs, although, predictable, many appear to be making the right noises about embracing the requirements.
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