The sports minister, Tracey Crouch, has praised the way national governing bodies have responded to the new Code for Sports Governance, with 50 sports bodies on track to become compliant by the end of October.
The governance code sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity required from those who ask for Government and National Lottery funding – and marks the single, biggest collective step forward in sports governance in the UK.
Meeting the standard
The code, published by Sport England and UK Sport in October last year, expects the highest standards of good governance, including:
- Greater transparency
- Increased skills and diversity in decision making – with a target of at least 30 per cent gender diversity on boards – and a commitment to greater diversity more generally
- Constitutional arrangements that make boards the ultimate decision-makers.
Significant progress is being made, with 50 sports bodies having plans agreed on how they will become compliant.
Plan of action
National governing bodies with plans in place include the Football Association (FA), England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Rugby Football Union (RFU) and British Cycling.
Some of the plans include:
- The FA’s board, council and shareholders have agreed to reduce the board in size from 12 to 10 members and introduce term limits for both the board and the FA Council
- The LTA agreed all article changes to become compliant with the code in May
- The RFU has formed an action plan that includes making changes to the composition of the board, including ensuring primacy of the board and the introduction of maximum term limits for council members
- The ECB has committed to reducing the size of its board and ensure its appointment process and term limits of directors are compliant with the code. The
- British Cycling’s National Council agreed at its recent Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to make the necessary changes to enable it to become compliant with the code by October.
“I appreciate for many sports this is not an easy task, due to the complexities of current governance structures,’ says Tracey Crouch.
“But virtually all of them have stepped up and have changes in the pipeline that will collectively strengthen sport in this country.
Good governance in sport is absolutely paramount – not just for effective decision making but to increase diversity, maintain sport’s integrity and ensure millions of sport fans have complete faith in those that run sport
Tracey Crouch, sports minister
“Good governance and transparency in sport is absolutely paramount – not just for effective decision making but to increase diversity, maintain sport’s integrity and ensure millions of sport fans have complete faith in those that run sport.”
Progress is also being made throughout Olympic and Paralympic sport governing bodies, including work by British Gymnastics to have strong gender diversity on its board – 50 per cent of its board is female – and Boccia UK, which is committed to improving transparency through better communication.
Embracing the governance code
If sports bodies don’t adhere to the code and cannot demonstrate full commitment to becoming compliant by October 2017, then they will not be eligible to receive public funding.
There are currently two sports governing bodies that do not have action plans agreed.
Table Tennis England has called an EGM next month to consider its board’s proposal on governance changes to become code compliant. The British Mountaineering Council is also undertaking an independent governance review and we will continue to work with them to agree an action plan.
We think these changes will pay off for years to come, with British sport leading the world
Jennie Price, chief executive, Sport England
Our chief executive, Jennie Price, says: “Implementation of the code has been a huge undertaking but we are very pleased with the progress national governing bodies have made. A lot of change is now happening in a relatively short period of time.
“Despite the hard work involved, sports bodies have embraced the code, recognising that better governance means better decision making.
“We think these changes will pay off for years to come, with British sport leading the world."