Recognising the need for change with the increase in incidents relating to racism, gender inequity and other forms of negative discrimination across the global sports industry, the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) on Monday established a Standing Committee, which will be chaired by T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis to deal with the issue.
This new Standing Committee on Race, Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion is another vital step taken by SIGA to promote good governance in Sport.
"It's advocating for real equality of treatment, justice and meritocracy in global sports governance. Tackling systemic racism and racial and gender discrimination and inequalities," said Lewis yesterday. "The SIGA Standing committee is a significant step."
According to a release from SIGA, the Standing Committee will build upon the important work of a multi-stakeholder Task Force that SIGA established earlier this year on the same topic, leading to a series of cutting edge recommendations that were publicly announced just two months ago during the first-ever Sports Integrity Week.
Such recommendations included a review of the SIGA Universal Standards on good governance in sport to include new evolving good practices in this area, such as unconscious bias training for employees of sports organisations, by way of example of a new gold standard.
“The SIGA Standing Committee on Race, Gender, Inclusion and Diversity is historic and significant with an incredible opportunity to be a force and catalyst for positive change within global sports. To be asked to chair the Standing Committee is an awesome honour and responsibility. Coming from a small Caribbean island it’s a significant statement of inclusion and diversity by SIGA," said Lewis, who is also president of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) and member of the SIGA Council.
He will have the support of Ju’Riese Colon, CEO of United States Center for SafeSport, as the Vice-Chair.
“I am proud to help lead SIGA’s initiatives around race, gender, diversity, and inclusion, as we work toward sport environments inclusive of all athletes. Levelling the playing field and creating systemic culture change begins with promoting athlete safety and well-being. I welcome the opportunity to apply what we have learned here in the US and to work with experts from around the world with the goal of influencing change on a global scale," said Colon in the release.
Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, Global CEO of SIGA and Chairman & CEO of SIGA AMERICA, added that each person has a part to play in the process.
“Look around us. Can any of us be insensitive to what’s happening around us and pretend it’s not our business? Of course, not! Sport can do more. Politicians and business leaders can do more," he said.
"Each one of us can do a lot more to eradicate racism and inequality, in all its forms, from Sport and, through Sport, from our society. And, if we can, we must!
"As we enter into a slow and painful recovery from the global pandemic, there is no better time to remember that, in Sport as in life, regardless of race, gender, place of birth, zip code, religious beliefs or sexual orientation, everyone must be entitled to the same rights and opportunities as others.
"This is a fundamental human right, and it is our moral imperative to do everything in our power to make sure that respect, tolerance and equality are more than just words. With the SIGA Standing Committee on Race, Gender, Diversity and Inclusion we will muster the leadership and foster the necessary culture change.”
The other members of the committee are Affy Sheikh (Head of Starlizard Integrity Services, SIGA Member), Angela Smith (Chair, Stoke City Supporters Council, Member of GB World Champion Squash Team & SIGA Mentor), Arun Kang OBE (CEO, Sporting Equals), Densign White MBE (CEO, IMMAF, SIGA Member), Karin Korb (Wheelchair Tennis 2-Time Paralympian & 10 -time member of USA World Team & SIGA Champion), Michelle Chai (COO, Olympic Council of Malaysia & SIGA Mentor), Stacey Copeland (First British Woman to win the Commonwealth title for boxing and SIGA champion), Taylor Green (Member, SIGA Youth Council & SIGA Mentee).